Fox Investigates: Hatch Act Controversy - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Fox Investigates: Hatch Act Controversy


Fox 29 has learned the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel in Washington, D.C. has found Montgomery County District Attorney, Risa Ferman violated the federal Hatch Act when she ran for district attorney in 2007.

But despite the finding, Ferman will not be penalized and the office of special counsel is closing its file on the case.

The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees--in essence--civil servants--from engaging in partisan, political activities.

The Office Of Special Counsel found Ferman violated the Hatch Act by remaining as Montgomery County's First Assistant District Attorney--an office which had received federal funds--while running for Montgomery County District Attorney in 2007.

It was a position she won.

In a letter to the person who complained, the office of special counsel wrote, "and although OSC has concluded that her 2007 candidacy for Montgomery County District Attorney was a violation of the Hatch act, we are closing our file in this matter without further action."

Stephan Clyburn, a political science professor at West Chester Univeristy, made the complaint against Ferman with the special counsel.

Ferman's office prosecuted Clyburn's wife.

"I am sure the DA will plead ignorance of the law--will insist she had no idea she violated the law my response to that would be is she qualified to hold the position of district attorney if she is not familiar with the laws of this republic," Clyburn said.

Anne Clyburn was prosecuted for theft by unlawful taking and other charges. She was convicted. She claims she was wrongfully accused and is working to have the conviction oveturned

Risa Ferman, on the telephone from outside the region, called the finding she violated the Hatch act bizarre.

She said others in similar positions had run for office without hatch act violations. She said had she know of the potential of a violation she would have stepped down as first assistant.

Ferman added, "I was following every rule of law."

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