The Office of Special Counsel has filed one of its rare complaints before the MSPB alleging a violation of Hatch Act prohibitions against partisan political activities by federal employees, a case serving as a reminder that the prohibitions apply even to those running as an independent if the campaign itself is partisan.

The complaint says that a VA doctor ran as an independent in a partisan 2014 campaign despite receiving guidance from the agency GC office on Hatch Act restrictions, which include bans on soliciting political contributions, using official influence as a government employee to affect the result of an election, and engaging in political activity at the workplace.

According to OSC, “the doctor promoted his candidacy by distributing business cards featuring the VA’s official seal and touting his campaign video, which . . . included a testimonial from a patient he had treated at the VA.

“OSC also alleges that the doctor encouraged several VA colleagues and at least one patient — during a medical consultation — to watch his campaign video. He also solicited campaign contributions both online and in person and invited at least one patient, also during a medical consultation, to a campaign event,” it said.