Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz have taken the point in Republican congressional efforts to reform the Hatch Act. Good for them.
The Hatch Act rightly prohibits federal employees from using U.S. government resources to help elect candidates to federal office. Since it was passed in 1939, it has been successful in accomplishing that worthwhile goal. But the law also has a down side. It can prevent employees of state or local governments from serving in elected nonfederal offices if they have any connection with administering federal funds. They also can lose their jobs.
Former Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner is the local poster boy for what is wrong with the law. While he was heading Ogden's thin blue line, he won election to the Utah Senate. That was in 2006. During his campaign, a complaint was filed that he had violated the Hatch Act. An investigation ensued. He was elected to the Utah Senate and served one term. But the Federal Merit Systems Protection Board eventually held that he had violated the Hatch Act for signing a quarterly report for a federal grant that funded a new dispatch center for Weber County while also holding elected office.