Merrick Garland issues prohibitions on appointees' political activity

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued new restrictions Tuesday barring Justice Department appointees from attending partisan political events even in their personal capacities.  Garland's directive, with the 2022 midterm elections looming, represents a break from long-standing department policy and a strict interpretation of the Hatch Act, which limits federal government employees' political participation to guard against conflicts of interest.

The restriction, Garland said, applies to both public and non-public partisan political events.

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The move represents another attempt by the attorney general to distance the department from the kind of politics that shadowed the agency during the Trump administration.

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