Civil Service Law § 107, Public Officers Law § 73(17), and Public Officers Law § 74 prohibit certain political activity in the workplace. In addition, the Commission’s outside activity regulations prohibit certain outside political activities.
What are the restrictions placed on political activity in the workplace?
- A potential employee cannot be asked about their political party affiliation, regardless of whether that applicant made any political contributions or how that applicant voted.
- No person can use his or her official State position to coerce, intimidate or influence other State officers or employees for any political purpose, action or contribution, or interfere with any election.
- State offices may not be used for soliciting or collecting any political contributions.
- No State officer or employee may corruptly use or promise to use any official authority or influence in exchange for political action on another’s part.
Examples of prohibited activities in the workplace
- Circulating a candidate's nominating petition within your office;
- Using the computer in your office after work to produce a brochure in support of a candidate's campaign;
- Sending e-mail invitations to campaign events to friends within the agency; and
- Using New York State internet connections to forward e-mail messages received from a partisan campaign or someone supporting a partisan candidate.
Restrictions outside the workplace
Policy makers, heads of State agencies, and statewide elected officials are prohibited from engaging in certain outside political activities whether the person serves on an unpaid or per diem basis as specified in Part 932.4 of the Commission’s outside activity regulations.
The restrictions include serving as:
- an officer, director, or board member of any party or political organization an officer, director, or board member of any party or political organization
- a member, officer, director, board member, or district leader of any party committee
Policy makers, heads of State agencies, and statewide elected officials may serve as a delegate to a state or national party convention.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics periodically releases Ethics Reminders. Each reminder is a brief and easy to understand synopsis of the laws and rules under the Commission’s jurisdiction. Ethics Reminders are issued to assist those subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction in understanding and complying with their obligations under the law.
Contact The JCOPE Attorney of the Day
The Commission administers an "Attorney of the Day" program to help provide State officials and employees, lobbyists, and clients of lobbyists with free, confidential advice on navigating the State's ethics and lobbying laws.