Special Counsel: Casey's Candidacy Does Not Violate Hatch Act

Letter sent to Democratic Dist. 50 Candidate Stephen Casey dispels write-in opponent's claim of invalid candidacy.


Stephen Casey, Democratic candidate for Dist. 50, has not violated the Hatch Act, according to a ruling by the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, DC, dispelling Rep. Jon Brien's (D-Dist. 50) claim that his run was illegal.

Brien (D-Dist. 50) filed a Hatch Act complaint against Casey Sept. 27, claiming he violated the law as a candidate working for the Woonsocket Fire Department, which accepts federal funding for training.

The Hatch Act limits political activities of federal employees on and off duty. Casey's campaign, which won against Brien by a 52-vote majority, might have violated the Hatch Act if his job as a firefighter directly benefited from federal funding.

But on Tuesday, Leslie J. Gogan, an attorney with the Hatch Act Unit of the Office of Special Counsel in Washington, DC, issued a ruling putting Casey in the clear.

“Office of Special Counsel finds that you do not have duties in connection with federally funded programs and activities. As such, you do not fall within the Hatch Act’s jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Hatch Act does not prohibit you from being a candidate for public office in the partisan elections at issue” Gogan wrote.

Gogan said that since Casey hasn't applied for and doesn't administer any of the grants the Woonsocket Fire Department has received, he isn't in violation of the Hatch Act. She wrote that even though Casey has received overtime pay that was funded through a federal grant, he hasn't been paid from that grant since May 2012. Casey has been a candidate since June 27. 

"Additionally, as long as you refrain from participating in any of the department's federally funded overtime shifts, you will remain outside of the Act's jurisdiction," Gogan wrote. 

“From the beginning, I felt this was a claim without merit that was issued to distract Woonsocket voters from matters we should be addressing to help move the city forward. Since winning the primary election in September, I have continued walking door-to-door, and talking to constituents to find out their greatest concerns.  This has been and will continue to be my focus through Nov 6,” Casey wrote in a statement about the ruling.

"The only real abuse of taxpayer dollars was the wasted time and money spent on investigating this frivolous claim," Casey said in the release.

The ruling also removes the possibility of a special election taxpayers might have had to pay for if Brien's complaint was found to have merit.   




Brian O'Ryan October 24, 2012 at 06:33 PM
This article made me laugh as easy as 1,2,3! 1-I read it. 2-I thought of John crying like a baby. And 3-I immediately rolled on the floor in hysterics!!!
commoncents October 24, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Jon don't go away mad,just go away.
commoncents October 24, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Jon is planning his thanksgiving dinner to include crow with all the fixings.
commoncents October 24, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Jon is also sponsoring a humble pie eating contest.
Seymour October 24, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I wonder if Brien and his WTC buddies will call a press conference to announce they were wrong.
commoncents October 24, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Maybe if he has time in the not so distant future,Jon could do some pro bono work for the city in which he loves so much.
Jerry October 24, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Brien is now claiming that Casey has three overdue library books and as a result is ineligible for the ballot. He may prevail yet!
Misty Harbor October 24, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Sounds like a bad case of obsessive compulsive disorder...too bad Jon didn't put all this energy into doing something constructive like.....WORKING FOR THE TAXPAYERS? Just goes to show how politicians think once they're in, they're in for good.
Gene Chevrette October 24, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Seymour I beg to differ with you, but the WTC does not sponsor any political candidates. We simply point out and take a stand against financial improprieties and foolish spending in our city government that will effect our taxpaying citizens. We have had many politicians and city leaders address our group but our bylaws prohibit us from supporting any polical candidate. In our past we have had some members who took it upon themselves to back a candidate but without WTC consent and in violation of our bylaws and we have addressed it internally. Those individuals were asked to leave our organization. I hope I cleared a few misconceptions that you may have about the WTC. I always use my true name to address comments because I am being honest and truthful.
commoncents October 25, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Mr.Dionne,Mr.Dionne,Mr.Dionne.Are you out there?I was worried about you.Are you reading that city charter again?Whats the matter? You have nothing?
Doctor October 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Now that the ruling is official Brien should just back down and admit defeat.
English first October 25, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Now that we have that cleared up what does Steven Casey have planned to bring jobs to the thousands of jobless in northern Rhode Island? I wonder how much it cost to get this important issue decided.
Seymour October 25, 2012 at 01:00 PM
So Gene you're telling me that the press conference held at Pepin Lumber was purely coincidental and none of the people in the picture are WTC members?
DMA October 25, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Gene, Your point about WTC is very well stated BUT........ Why did Jon Brien have his Press Conference at Pepin Lumber? A little conflict Here with your bylaws? Or are the Pepins gettin involved in Politics? This is very apparent to me.
David Bouchard October 25, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Anyone as arrogant as JB would never admit defeat. Besides, he wouldn't want to disappoint his friends at ALEC and on the right. If he had been honest and ran as the Republican that he is; he might be on the ballot. But I'm sure he won't let it go - he has radio and newspaper ads, and, according to Roger Bouchard's column he's even got a moving billboard. I wonder who's picking up the tab for all that - could it be those friends from ALEC and the folks on the right that he ardently supports?
DR October 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Taxpayers lets take all these negative comments and turn them into positive by voting for Jon Brien on Tuesday 11/06/12. Also don't forget to support Bob Phillips and Lisa Baldelli-Hunt. Taxes and fees are too high in Woonsocket as it is now.
John Silva October 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Wake up people. If John Brian was any friend of the taxpayer he would have signed onto a bill in the general assembly last year that would have stopped tax cuts for anyone making over $250,000 a year. He would rather see the middle class struggle. He did just what ALEC wanted him to do. And that is to take care of the richest people. Goes to show you who he is beholden to. Not the taxpayers.
Dawn Mackenzie October 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Congratulations to Casey! It was a waste of money to investigate but now you are in the clear to take your elected office. Jon- You won't give up on the election but you did give up on an adequate funding formula which would have brought millions of dollars into the city's schools. If you had fought as hard for the school department, maybe we wouldn't be in such a mess. I can't afford to pay more taxes so I am not writing in your name.
Harold Ryan November 06, 2012 at 09:09 AM
I do believe JON BRIEN has worked for the taxpayers. As I understand it, he initiated and steadfastly held off the"Woonsocket supplemental tax" that we did not have to pay this year thanks to him and I will be voting for Mr.BRIEN, not for this one fact but for other issues I have brought before him.
Scott November 06, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Harold, you realize the budget commission is in place because he voted against the supplemental right? The budget commision with the 5 year plan that raises taxes by more than 30%. Suddenly the supplemental doesn't look so bad.


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