More Accusations in Hatch Act Case

September 12, 2012

The government watchdog group that last week requested an investigation into two FAA employees for potential Hatch Act violations has discovered more potential violations of election laws by one of the individuals, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Regarding the new information, Cause of Action’s Executive Director Dan Epstein said:

We have reason to believe that an immediate investigation is necessary in this case. It appears that Mr. Hickey may have violated any number of laws on the books protecting individuals from intimidation, interference, or coercion concerning their right to vote. It is the obligation of the election crimes division of the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate those matters. Furthermore, Mr. Hickey may have violated several Prohibited Personnel Practices (5 U.S.C §2302) including discrimination against employees based on political affiliation, as well as potential whistleblower retaliation. Carolyn Lerner of the Office of Special Counsel should investigate those matters as well.

Mr. Scovel, as Inspector General, has authority to investigate all of these allegations as well as make referrals to the OSC or DOJ when appropriate. Cause of Action will be asking Mr. Scovel to provide records concerning just when potential Hatch Act, election misconduct, or prohibited personnel practices issues involved at the FAA first came to his attention in order to determine whether investigations or remedies may have been unreasonably delayed. As far as we can tell, Mr. Hickey is still an officer of the United States Federal Government.

John Hickey, deputy associate administrator for Aviation Safety, and Raymond Towles, deputy director of flight standards field operations for the FAA, allegedly violated the Hatch Act in a mandatory meeting with FAA employees in Seattle on May 23.

According to emails between FAA employees the day after the meeting, Hickey and Towles told the employees that their jobs could be affected by Republican victories this November and encouraged them to vote for Democratic candidates.

Cause of Action is arguing that this meeting constitutes a violation of the Hatch Act of 1939, which seeks to separate federal jobs and election activity.