Hatch Act photo restrictions in force as campaign season begins


Attention, feds: Those cubicle photos, work computer screensavers and other shots of President Obama may have to go now that he’s formally seeking a second term.

Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are generally barred from displaying workplace pictures of partisan political candidates, the Office of Special Counsel says in an advisory opinion issued after Obama announced his re-election bid earlier this month.

There are just two exceptions.

The first involves the standard portrait photo and other official pictures of the President meeting heads of states or conducting other official business (no adding halos or horns, however, the OSC warns). And if the photo comes from the president’s campaign or a partisan political group, it’s still taboo even if it shows Obama carrying out his official duties.

The other exception involves personal photos, but the bar is high. Assuming that the photo shows you and Obama, was taken at a wedding or some other personal function and was on display before the election season, you can keep it up.  The same standards apply to other candidate photos,  incidentally.


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