The Top 7 Things Public Servants Need to Know about Political Activities


1. Public servants are free to volunteer for or donate to the campaign of any candidate for elective office.

2. A public servant can serve as a paid consultant on a political campaign, even a campaign for elective City office, as long as the public servant does not communicate with the Campaign Finance Board (or any other City agency) on behalf of the campaign. CFB employees should seek additional guidance from the Board.

3. Public servants may not use any City time or City resources (including a City computer, email account or phone) for any political purpose.

4. Public servants may publicly endorse candidates or parties provided that they do not use, or permit others to use, their City titles in making the endorsement. (This rule is different for elected officials.)

5. City supervisors may not order, ask, or even suggest that their subordinates contribute to a campaign or otherwise participate in any kind of political activity.

6. Public servants who run for elective office may be required to take a leave of absence (Mayoral Directive No. 91-7). For more information, please contact your agency’s Ethics Liaison.

7. All public servants are prohibited from soliciting political donations from their City subordinates or from firms (whether vendors or not-for-profits) with which they interact in their City jobs. In addition, deputy mayors, agency heads, and City employees with “substantial policy discretion” cannot ask anyone to contribute to the political campaign of anyone running for City elective office or any current City elected official.


Want advice? Click here or call (212) 442-1400 to speak to the Board’s Attorney of the Day. All calls are confidential.