Most of the prohibitions affecting federal employees and campaigns come into effect only for partisan elections. Almost any kind of participation in nonpartisan elections is allowable. But the Hatch Act acknowledges that some elections can be nonpartisan in name only. For example, the federal employee guide to the Hatch Act says the following about nonpartisan elections being transformed into partisan elections:
Q. Can a nonpartisan election be transformed into a partisan election?
A. Yes. If state or local law mandates a nonpartisan ballot for a particular local office, there will be a presumption that the election for that office is nonpartisan. If evidence is presented, however, that shows that partisan politics actually enter the campaigns of the candidates, e.g., the [candidate] solicits the endorsement of a partisan group, advertises the endorsement of a political party, or uses the party's resources to further her campaign effort, the nonpartisan election can be transformed into a partisan one in violation of the Hatch Act.
Good thing the Hatch Act doesn't apply to Barbara Rosenkotter either (Salmon Recovery Lead for our Planning Department), since Rosenkotter is a County employee involved in the Byers campaign. Under the federal system, she might be in an especially tight spot given her role as Campaign Treasurer for Byers. The federal employee guide to the Hatch Act says:
Q. May an employee serve as the treasurer of a campaign?The latest tally of campaign fundraising puts the Byers powerhouse at a total of $20,477. The top contributors to Byers are Janet Alderton of the Friends and her husband at $900 each. They also are the top contributors to Pratt at $1,800 each (Pratt has raised $18,552). Alderton and her husband have now dished out $5,400 for the Byers and Pratt campaigns combined.
A. Yes, an employee may serve as treasurer to the extent of preparing and filing campaign finance reports and paying campaign expenses. The employee would be prohibited from personally soliciting, accepting or receiving political contributions.
The Byers and Pratt campaigns are a world unto themselves. No other campaign has the money and network that these two campaigns have. If you believe in the 1% versus the 99%, and if you map the donors and committee members of Pratt/Byers campaigns, you end up with a group that is about 150 people in size ... roughly 1% of our little county. That 1% seems to be comprised inordinately of people (and their related organizational interests) who benefit from free flowing public funding. Including many who, as the saying goes, vote for their living rather than work for their living.
For all the talk of diversity coming out of the Byers campaign especially, I wonder how many fisherman, waitresses, and construction workers are among her supporters ... probably about as many as are on our County citizen advisory committees.