WASHINGTON — The Senate voted today to allow IRS, CIA and FBI agents to participate in political campaigns, rejecting Republican attempts to maintain the status quo established in the 51-year-old Hatch Act.
On a 51-46 vote, the Senate rejected an amendment to exclude employees in the spy and tax agencies plus the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission from a Democratic bill that removes most restrictions on political activities by civil service and postal workers.
The amendment by Senate GOP leader Bob Dole of Kansas was one of three unsuccessful attempts by Republicans today to chip away at the union-sought revisions in the Hatch Act.
"Laws restricting those people and what they can do are already on the books," said Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), the principal author of the proposed Hatch Act revisions. "They cannot use information gained on the job politically."