Yesterday I reported on April Sands, the former Federal Election Commission lawyer who resigned for violations of the Hatch Act. Sands violated the Hatch Act by engaging in political activity to help President Obama’s reelection while on government time and using government resources while actually at the offices of the Federal Election Commission.
You can watch her appear in this Huffington Post LiveStream, an event cited by the Office of Special Counsel which investigated her behavior.
Sands was allowed to resign quietly and anonymously from her $133,264 a year job. Why?
I couldn’t even get the FEC’s press office to tell me whether or not Sands even worked at the FEC anymore. Does the public not have a right to know whether or not someone is paid by the public?
We know that Sands once worked with Lois Lerner when Lerner was at the FEC. Lerner, too, stands accused of using her government office to help political allies.
Like Sands, Lerner was also allowed to resign and continue to enjoy generous federal retirement benefits. Sands had been at the FEC for at least eight years, which means she is likely to receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $853 a month from the taxpayers (to be inflation adjusted) upon reaching age 65 in 20 years or so. Lerner will also ride that retirement wave, much sooner I suspect.
Similarly, if Sands fully participated in the Thrift Savings Plan, that means the taxpayers provided thousands of extra dollars a year for her retirement accounts.
All of this raises the question of whether federal employees who leave federal service after violating the Hatch Act should continue to receive federal retirement benefits.
I tend to believe they should, but I suspect among the American people, I am in the distinct minority.
But here are the bigger questions – why are federal employees who break the law entitled to a quiet and anonymous exit from federal service? Should the public and the press have to pry out the identity of people who violate the Hatch Act? Did some at the FEC do everything they could to help Sands get a fresh start?
When I asked Sands at her Twitter handle (@reignofapril) if she was the ex-FEC lawyer, she immediately shut down her online alter ego, at least at Twitter. But even that won’t work, thanks to Twitchy and Google. What emerges is a very activist federal employee, and that activism was supported by your tax dollars to the detriment of Republicans.