Election season guidance
By William Luck (LEG), Senior Attorney
As the election season approaches, it is important to revisit the types of political activities that Argonne employees are permitted and not permitted to engage in.
Argonne employees, in their personal capacities and using their own personal time and resources, may participate in electoral and other political activities, including work for or support of candidates and entry into an election as a candidate. The Hatch Act, which limits the participation of executive branch and other federal employees in electoral politics, does not apply to Argonne employees.
However, Argonne employees may not engage in any political activity that would use laboratory contract funds or laboratory resources. Argonne employees may not engage in political activities on Argonne time and may not use Argonne equipment — such as telephones, computers, the internet, copy machines or inter-office mail — for these purposes. Additionally, it is essential that Argonne employees must ensure that they do not present themselves as representatives of the laboratory.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has specific rules regarding Argonne visits by candidates, including current office-holders. DOE buildings and property may not be used for campaign activities such as rallies, town hall meetings, speeches, press conferences or photo opportunities. DOE facilities that have policies of allowing public tours, such as at the Advanced Photon Source, may authorize a candidate’s request for a tour as it would for any other member of the public. However, a number of conditions apply to assure that a tour does not turn into a campaign rally. Any request for a tour by a candidate should be referred to Katie Yurkewicz (CPA) at ext. 2-5561 for consideration and coordination with DOE and the Legal Department.
If any Argonne employee has a specific question regarding his or her involvement in some form of electoral or other political activity, it is always best to direct those questions to the Argonne Legal Department at ext. 2-3040.