An IRS customer service representative has been suspended for 100 days for using his official capacity to encourage callers to re-elect President Barack Obama in 2012, Politico reports.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog agency, filed a complaint in April 2014 accusing the employee of violating the Hatch Act. The 1939 Hatch Act, also known as “An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities,” “prohibits federal employees from running as candidates in partisan elections, and from soliciting contributions and promoting candidates for political office while on duty and in the federal workplace.”
“OSC’s complaint alleged that, when fielding taxpayers’ questions on an IRS customer service help line, the employee repeatedly urged taxpayers to reelect President Obama in 2012 by delivering a chant based on the spelling of the employee’s last name,” the agency’s Thursday press release read.
“In the settlement agreement resolving the complaint, the IRS employee acknowledged that he had used his authority and influence as an IRS customer service representative for a political purpose and did so while at work.”
These charges are unrelated to the ongoing IRS conservative nonprofit-targeting investigation.