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Getting the Government America DeservesHow Ethics Reform Can Make a Difference$
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Richard W. Painter

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195378719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195378719.001.0001

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The Official White House Office of Political Affairs, the Unofficial Office of Political Affairs, and Personal Capacity Political Activity by Government Officials

The Official White House Office of Political Affairs, the Unofficial Office of Political Affairs, and Personal Capacity Political Activity by Government Officials

Chapter:
(p.245) ten The Official White House Office of Political Affairs, the Unofficial Office of Political Affairs, and Personal Capacity Political Activity by Government Officials
Source:
Getting the Government America Deserves
Author(s):

RICHARD W. PAINTER

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195378719.003.0010

This chapter focuses on political activity by government officials. It argues that concurrent political and official roles put people in a position that is difficult and untenable. Critics will blame Office of Political Affairs staff members and other officials who engage in political activity for poor ethical judgment when problems arise. These problems, however, may be inevitable if government officials continue to be asked to perform official and political roles concurrently. The public image of the White House and the rest of the government will suffer as a consequence. These and other problems would be mitigated if White House staff members were prohibited from, or voluntarily refrained from, engaging in personal capacity political activity. A strong argument can also be made for not allowing any political activity on government property, whether in the White House or anywhere else.

Keywords:   Hatch Act, political activity, government employees, government officials, White House, public image

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