Political Activity Guidelines
Policy on political activities
The restrictions imposed by State of Oregon law on your political activities are that "No public employee shall solicit any money, influence, service or other thing of value or otherwise promote or oppose any political committee or promote or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate, the gathering of signatures on an initiative, referendum or recall petition, the adoption of a measure or the recall of a public office holder while on the job during working hours. However, this section does not restrict the right of a public employee to express personal political views."
It is therefore the policy of the state and of OHSU that you may engage in political activity except to the extent prohibited by state law when on the job during working hours.
Contacting public officials
All contacts on behalf of OHSU or any of its units, departments or programs with federal, state, regional and local governments, legislative delegations and public officials are coordinated through OHSU's Office of Government Relations.
You must coordinate with Government Relations on any presentations, reports or testimony you provide to any government or legislative official. If you are involved in a legislative issue or you are requested by a government or legislative official to provide information about OHSU or your program area, you must forward the request to Government Relations.
Supporting candidates and ballot measures
As an OHSU employee, you are a public employee. Oregon's laws state that public employees, while on the job during working hours, may not solicit any money, influence, service or other thing of value, or otherwise promote or oppose any political committee, the nomination or election of a candidate, the adoption or defeat of a measure, referendum or initiative, or the recall of a public office holder.
The examples that follow provide a list of restrictions and allowable activities for public employees, as set forth by the Oregon Secretary of State. While the list is not all-inclusive, it does address the most common concerns and issues.
Examples of restrictions on political activities during work time for public employees
As an OHSU employee:
- You may not prepare or distribute written or electronic materials supporting or opposing a measure, candidate or petition. You also may not direct a subordinate or co-worker to prepare or distribute such materials.
- You may not solicit support or funds from employees or students for political activities or issues.
- You may not use OHSU's computer network, including your OHSU e-mail account, for distributing information in support of or opposition to any candidates, measures, referendums, petitions or other political activities or issues.
- You may not collect funds or signatures on behalf of political action committees, candidates, measures, referendums, petitions or other political activities or issues.
- You may not assist with candidates' filing forms, voters' pamphlet filings, contribution and expenditure report forms, or related correspondence.
- You may not perform any related activities such as producing or distributing political documents advocating a vote for or against a measure, or news releases or letters announcing an elected official's support for or opposition to a candidate, measure, referendum or petition.
- You may not produce or distribute a news release announcing a candidate's filing that includes reasons for supporting the candidate, the candidate's goals if elected, or any other supportive information.
- You may not post signs or banners promoting or opposing any candidate, measure, referendum, petition or other political activity or issue.
Examples of allowable political activities for public employees
As an OHSU employee:
- You may engage in political activities during your personal time after work hours as long as you do not use any OHSU resources (i.e., computers, telephones, supplies, etc.) for political purposes.
- You may wear political buttons at work, unless you work in a public work area where your display of a political button might be construed as representing an official endorsement by OHSU.
For more information on political activities, contact Government Relations.