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October 7, 2014

Hatch Act Unit


Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street NW, Suite 218
Washington, DC 20036
VIA FACSIMILE: (202) 254-3700

Re: Violation of Hatch Act by Susan Denara Motley

Dear Sir or Madam:

This complaint is filed against Susan Denara Motley, a candidate for the Texas House of
Representatives in District 105 (Dallas County), and current employee of Disability Rights Texas
(DRT) for violations of the federal Hatch Act. As more fully explained below, the Hatch Act
prohibits Motley from engaging in certain types of political activities by virtue of her
employment with DRT, a non-profit organization funded entirely by the federal government.
Her candidacy for the Texas House of Representatives qualifies as prohibited political activity
under the Hatch Act. We request that the Office of Special Counsel investigate these serious
violations and recommend termination of Motleys employment from DRT to ensure compliance
with the Hatch Act.

As stated above, Motley is a candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in District
105 (Dallas County). Printouts from her campaigns website and a list of her campaign finance
filings, as well as an article about her campaign are attached as Exhibit A. Motley is an attorney
in DRTs North Texas Regional Office located at 1420 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 450
Dallas, TX 75247, Phone: (214) 630-0916, Fax: (214) 630-3472. See Exhibit B. According to
brochures and literature on its website, DRT appears to be funded entirely by the federal
government. See Exhibit C. This means that DRTs employees, including Motley, are subject to
the Hatch Acts provisions. In 2012, President Obama signed into law the Hatch Act
Modernization Act of 2012, which, among other things, made it easier for state and local
employees to run for partisan political office. However, the amended version of the law
explicitly states that:

a) A State or local officer or employee may not--
(1) use his official authority or influence for the purpose of
interfering with or affecting the result of an election or a
nomination for office;
(2) directly or indirectly coerce, attempt to coerce, command, or
advise a State or local officer or employee to pay, lend, or
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contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization,
agency, or person for political purposes; or
(3) if the salary of the employee is paid completely, directly or
indirectly, by loans or grants made by the United States or a
Federal agency, be a candidate for elective office.

5 U.S.C. 1502.

A state of local officer or employee means:

an individual employed by a State or local agency whose
principal employment is in connection with an activity which is
financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the
United States or Federal agency, but does not include--
(A) an individual who exercises no functions in connection with
that activity; or
(B) an individual employed by an educational or research
institution, establishment, agency, or system which is supported in
whole or in part by--
(i) a State or political subdivision thereof;
(ii) the District of Columbia; or
(iii) a recognized religious, philanthropic, or cultural organization.

5 U.S.C. 1501(4).

Because DRT appears to be funded entirely by the federal government, its employees are
paid using federal dollars, putting them within the purview of 5 U.S.C. 1502(a)(3), cited above.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers the State of Texas and would
therefore be binding precedent in Motleys case, has addressed the applicability of the Hatch Act
to employees of nonprofit organizations funded by the federal government. In Brandon v.
Southwest Mississippi Senior Services, Inc., 834 F.2d 536 (5th Cir. 1987), the Fifth Circuit found
that an employee of nonprofit corporation that serves senior citizens and receives approximately
75 percent of its funding from Federal Government was subject to Hatch Act.

In that case, Marjorie Brandon was working for Southwest Mississippi Senior Services
(SMSS), a nonprofit organization, and, at the same time, was a justice court judge in
Mississippi. SMSS was a federally funded program and thus terminated Browns employment on
the basis that it violated the Hatch Act. The case noted that pursuant to the Hatch Act, certain
government officers that worked with federally funded programs were prohibited from running
for an elective office in partisan elections. On appeal, Brandon contended that the Hatch Act did
not apply to her employment with SMSS because she was not considered a public or civil servant
under state law. The court affirmed and held that Brandons civil servant status under state law
was immaterial. The court determined that it was enough that Brandons employment with
SMSS fell directly within the definition of state or local officer or employee contained in
5 U.S.C. 1501(4). The court held that Brandons employment violated the Hatch Act because
some of the candidates were partisan. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court,
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which awarded a judgment in favor of SMSS in Brandons action against SMSS that alleged that
the termination of her employment violated her constitutional rights. The court held that
Brandons employment with SMSS, which was a federally funded program, directly violated a
statute that prevented federal employees from running for office in partisan elections.

Although this case was decided before the 2012 revisions of the Hatch Act, the Fifth
Circuits rationale still holds true in Motleys case because DRT appears to be entirely federally
funded and therefore 100% of Motleys salary is presumably paid for using those federal funds.
Therefore, Motley would be subject to the Hatch Act and be prohibited from running for partisan
political office while working for DRT. We therefore request that the Office of Special Counsel
investigate these serious violations and recommend termination of Motleys employment from
DRT to ensure compliance with the Hatch Act.

I consent to the Office of Special Counsels (OSC) communication with the pertinent
individuals involved in my complaint. I agree to allow OSC to disclose my identity as the
complainant, and information from or about me, if OSC decides that such disclosure is needed to
investigate the allegations in my complaint.


Sincerely yours,




Colby Smith
5614 Worth Street
Dallas, Texas 75214
(682) 556-4118
iraqvet23@gmail.com


Enc.