On September 5, 2009, Cecilia Iglesias formed a campaign committee to run for Congress and challenge incumbent Loretta Sanchez in the 47th Congressional District. We reported on her campaign back then in Claudio Gallegos’s story Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias – GOP in an Independent’s Clothing. What we failed to recognize at that time is that Ms. Iglesias was from that point in time in violation of a federal law (Hatch Act) which bars employees of state and local governments from seeking partisan political office if that employee manages federal funds or is paid in full or in part with federal funds.
At the time she launched her campaign for congress, Ms. Iglesias held an Administrative Manager position with the Social Services Agency (SSA) as a Contract Administrator. Iglesias was earning approximately $76,918 annually (not including benefits), of which 70.21% was federally funded. We learned last week, through a public records request, that Ms. Iglesias resigned for the Social Services Agency on May 21, 2010.
Cecilia Iglesias worked in a federally funded position, in violation of the Hatch Act, for 8½ months before she resigned. Her resignation from SSA was certainly not an option for her in light of the clear definition of penalties prescribed by the Hatch Act. While there are no administrative penalties for the individual employee who violates the Act, the Office of Special Counsel website indicates that the only option for SSA was to either remove Ms. Iglesias from her position with the agency or forfeit a portion of its federal assistance equal to two years of her salary as a penalty for the violation.
In an administrative ruling in March 2010, an Administrative Law Judge ruled that Ogden Utah Police Chief Jon Greiner needed to either resign as Chief or the city would need to return more than $200,000 in federal funds because the Chief violated the Hatch Act when he signed off on more than $1 million in federal expenditures while also being a candidate and member of the Utah State Senate. That ruling is currently pending appeal and Senator/Chief Greiner has dropped his bid for reelection. He refuses to resign as Chief and the city has joined his appeal.
The fact that Ms. Iglesias embarked on a campaign for partisan office without resigning from her county position is confusing to me. Throughout my 13 years as an employee of the Health Care Agency I have been aware of the provisions of the Hatch Act. Not only are all county employees told of the Act, but the county requires that a Hatch Act notification be posted on all employee bulletin boards. I cannot imagine a scenario where Ms. Iglesias was not aware of the Act. Further, it is incomprehensible to me that her supervisors could not have known of her candidacy. This is disturbing, given the amount of federal funding SSA receives, that it took 8 ½ months for the agency to recognize the problem and correct it. We had not heard back from SSA regarding our inquiry as to when they learned that Ms. Iglesias was a candidate for Congress or if the fact that Ms. Iglesias had continued to work under federal funding for more than 8 months after declaring candidacy for congress played a role in her resignation from agency service?
We are not aware of whether Ms. Iglesias has another job, or if she is living on savings or the kindness of strangers. The latter would likely need to be reported as a campaign contribution.