NLRB Attorney Removed for using Federal Government Resources to Help Democrat

The federal government’s Office of Special Counsel announced May 21 that Nat’l Labor Relations Bd. attorney Bruce Buchanan agreed leave federal service for violating the Hatch Act.  OSC, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency covering the federal workforce, filed a petition with the Merit Systems Protection Bd. in Oct. 2001, seeking Buchanan’s disciplinary removal for allegedly engaging in political activity prohibited by the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prohibits most government employees from partisan political activity while on duty or in a government facility.

Buchanan confessed to improperly soliciting political support and financial donations in support of a Democratic Senate candidate while he was on duty during 1997 and 1998 in the NLRB field office in Little Rock, Ark. OSC accused Buchanan of using government equipment in his office and his government title to contact and prepare briefing memoranda for a candidate. OSC further accused Buchanan of using government resources, including the help of a subordinate employee, to prepare campaign contribution solicitation materials aimed at various current and former union officials whose unions regularly were involved in actions before NLRB.

Under the terms of a consent judgment approved by MSPB May 16, Buchanan will be removed from federal employment July 15, and a copy of the removal order will be placed in his permanent employment file.  [BNA 5/23/02] The Democratic candidate was not named. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) was elected in 1998 and defeated three other Democratic candidates in the the party’s primary: Winston Bryant, Scott Ferguson, and Nate Coulter.