Examines the efficacy of the 1939 Hatch Act's prohibition on government workers' involvement in partisan political activities. The act had originally been passed to protect federal workers from coercion by their superiors and to insure a politically neutral civil service. The issue came to the fore again last October when U.S. Representative William Clay (D-MO) introduced a bill, H.R. 3400, that would allow federal workers to run for office as well as work on political campaigns. Thus, once again the question of whether to repeal or reform the act has been raised.
The authors argue that, whereas the original conditions and reasons which prompted passage of the act have not changed over the last fifty years, there is little reason for repealing it. On the contrary, they maintain that its aegis should be broadened to incorporate the activities of public sector unions.