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Snyder cleared in Hatch Act complaint

April 15, 2014 • Local News

Chaves County sheriff candidate Britt Snyder was notified by the federal government that he was not in violation of the Hatch Act, he announced Tuesday.

“There was never a doubt in my mind I had done anything to violate the Hatch Act, but I had to get that officially from them,” Snyder said.

Orie “O.L.” Adcock, campaign manager for sheriff candidate Gary Graves, had filed the complaint, alleging that Snyder had violated the elections law as a candidate while also employed as chief [auth] deputy at the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office.

The complaint also alleged that he used his official authority for partisan political purposes while conducting his campaign, according to a letter written to Snyder by Erica Hamrick, deputy chief of the Hatch Act Unit of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

“…We have determined that you are not covered by the Hatch Act, and we are closing the above-referenced file without further action,” Hamrick wrote.

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of employees who work with programs financed in whole or part by the federal government and is generally a guideline for federal employees who run for office.

According to Hamrick, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel determined that Snyder’s salary is not 100 percent federally funded and therefore his candidacy for Chaves County sheriff was not in violation of the act.

Federal Hatch Act counsel also addressed Adcock’s complaint about Snyder’s use photos of himself wearing his sheriff’s uniform on his Facebook page and the use of the sheriff’s office as his campaign headquarters’ address. Both allegations cleared, as Snyder’s duties were not financed by federal loans or grants.

Snyder said he was aware of the Hatch Act rules for many years, following a similar complaint filed against current Sheriff Rob Coon.

“I’ve been well aware of the Hatch Act and what it encompasses for a long time,” Snyder said. “It was never designed to prevent public employees from running for office.”

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