Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Mount Vernon City Councilman Steven Horton

As reported earlier by Mount Vernon Exposed there has been a formal complaint made with The United States Office of Special Counsel regarding Councilman Steve Horton’s possible violation of Federal Law, specifically The Hatch Act of 1939.

Mount Vernon Exposed publisher Samuel L. Rivers requested an advisory opinion from The United States Office of Special Counsel.   An advisory opinion is an opinion rendered by a judge or court that indicated how the court would rule on a question without actually ruling on some adversary proceeding; an advisory opinion is only informative and not binding.

 The United States Office of Special Counsel provided an advisory opinion that we would like to share with our readers.  We will continue to update you on the status of Councilman Steven Horton.  


Dear Mr. Rivers:

The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1508, restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state, county or municipal executive agencies in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency.  It has long been established that an officer or employee of a state or local agency is subject to the Hatch Act if, as a normal and foreseeable incident of his principal position or job, he performs duties in connection with an activity financed in whole or in part by federal funds.  In re Hutchins, 2 P.A.R. 160, 164 (1944); Special Counsel v. Gallagher, 44 M.S.P.R. 57 (1990).  An employee covered by the Act is prohibited from, among other things, being a candidate for public office in a partisan election i.e., an election in which any candidate represents, for example, the Republican or Democratic Party.

Whether an individual is covered by the Hatch Act is a very fact specific inquiry.  An employee of a state or local executive agency is covered by the Hatch Act only if he has duties in connection with federally financed activities.  

If the employee is covered by the Hatch Act, he would be prohibited from being a candidate in a partisan election.

If you would like to file a Hatch Act complaint and request that OSC investigate the matter, you may download OSC Form 13 from and send the completed form to the attention of the Hatch Act Unit via fax or e-mail.  Our fax number is (202) 653-5151 and our email address is

You may also file the complaint in a response to this email.  If you do so, please provide us with Mr. Horton’s daytime telephone number and the name and daytime telephone number of an official at the Housing Authority who would be able to give us information about the federal funding the agency receives. In addition, please provide as much information as possible regarding the candidacy and fundraising allegations.

Peta-Gay Irving Brown
Attorney, Hatch Act Unit
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
San Francisco Bay Area Field Office
510.637.3464 x5226 (voice)
510.637.3474 (fax)

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