Government watchdogs were skeptical of the reforms mentioned by members of Congress when the issue was discussed last year.
"Past experience has shown that when Hill people talk about reform, they often seek to weaken it," Meredith McGehee told TPM last June. McGehee, who worked on Hatch Act reform when she worked at Common Cause, said rank-and-file federal employees "take the Hatch Act quite seriously but get disheartened when they see the upper echelons and political appointees being active."
The new legislation, titled the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, would also ensure that "employees of the District of Columbia are subject to the same restrictions on political activity that currently apply to employees of all other state and local government agencies," according to a press release. Th bill was introduced by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) in the Senate and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in the House. The Senate version was cosponsored by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mike Lee (R-UT).
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