Cause of Action Exposes Negligence and New Hatch Act Concerns at Office of Special Counsel

Board Designated with Investigating Hatch Act Violations is Rife with Problems

 WASHINGTON – Cause of Action (CoA), a government accountability organization, sent a letter to Chairman Darrell Issa of the House Oversight Committee on Monday outlining new discoveries about Hatch Act violations and internal problems at the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that warrant investigation.

The letter follows an OSC complaint filed on January 29, 2012 by Cause of Action requesting an investigation into AJ Pearlman, an aide to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who committed a Hatch Act violation while accompanying the Secretary during a February 2012 trip. Cause of Action filed the complaint in concert with a complaint to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) concerning the Democratic National Committee’s reimbursement to the government for Secretary Sebelius’s political activity.

What Cause of Action is now revealing is a breakdown of accountability at the OSC on multiple levels:

  • OSC’s Investigation into HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Failed to Disclose a Potential Hatch Act Violation by Sebelius’s Aide AJ Pearlman
  • OSC Did Not Consider that Secretary Sebelius and Her Staff’s Support of Senator Sherrod Brown may Raise Hatch Act Concerns
  • OSC Failed to Investigate Potential Hatch Act Violations Arising from an Event at The White House Sponsored by the Democratic National Committee (DNC)
  • OSC Has Launched a Hatch Act Investigation into Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar, but Will they Conclude that Investigation Before He Leaves Office in March 2013?
  • OSC Lacks Clear Guidelines for Appropriate Disciplinary Action against Federal Employees that Violate the Hatch Act
  • OSC’s Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner Used a Non-government E-mail Account to Conduct Agency Business

Executive Director of Cause of Action Dan Epstein explained the consequences of Cause of Action’s findings:

“The Office of Special Counsel exists, in part, to hold federal government employees to the standards of the law, yet we have found a breakdown of responsibility, ethics, and duty within their own agency.  As the primary Congressional body with jurisdiction over OSC, we are presenting our findings to the House Oversight Committee for their review.  Taxpayer dollars are funding an agency who is failing to execute its duties, and we intend to hold them accountable. The ripple effects of their failures mean that numerous agency employees are potentially getting away with breaking the law.”

The letter and the exhibits can be found here.


To schedule an interview with Cause of Action’s Communications Director Mary Beth Hutchins, contact Jamie Morris,