Special General Memorandum 2006-03
The purpose of this memorandum is to remind each individual of the political activity restrictions placed upon Indian Health Service (IHS) employees. Federal law prohibits the use of Federal appropriated funds by Federal employees for the purpose of engaging in lobbying to influence congressional legislation or engaging in substantial grassroots lobbying campaigns of telegrams, letters, and other private forms of communication expressly asking recipients to contact members of Congress in support of or in opposition to pending legislation.
In particular, employees may not use their Government computers, telephones, facsimiles, or other property to conduct personal lobbying activities. The use of IHS Information Technology (IT) resources to engage in any outside fund-raising activity, including non-profit activities, endorse any product or service, participate in any lobbying activity, or engage in any prohibited partisan political activity is a misuse or inappropriate personal use of IHS IT resources.
Please review the Office of the General Counsel Ethics Division’s handout, “Political Activities Checklist,” dated May 2002 (copy attached), which provides simple lists that will be useful in analyzing permitted and prohibited political activity by Federal Government employees under the Hatch Act as well as grassroots lobbying issues under the Anti-Lobbying Act.
The rules regarding the appropriate uses of e-mail and other electronic messaging devices to send or deliver partisan political messages while on-duty at a Federal work site or in a Government-owned vehicle are outlined in an Office of Special Counsel Advisory Opinion dated May 30, 2002 (copy attached). Further IHS policy guidance may be obtained in Part 8, Chapter 6, “Limited Personal Use of Information Technology Resources,” Indian Health Manual, and at http://wwwdev.ihs.gov/ihm/index.cfm?module=dsp_ihm_pc_p8c6.
Employees are required to refrain from using IHS IT resources for activities that are inappropriate. It is important that as an IHS employee you have knowledge of and faithfully observe all applicable IHS policies and ethics regulations, including the Hatch Act and the Anti-Lobbying Act.
This Special General Memorandum (SGM) supersedes SGM No. 2004-02, “Political Activities,” dated April 6, 2004.
If you have any questions regarding political activities, you may:
/Charles W. Grim, DDS/
Charles W. Grim, D.D.S., M.H.S.A.
Assistant Surgeon General
Refer to: OMS/PIES
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