Lawmakers Take a Closer Look at LWOP Use by Agencies

Two lawmakers are questioning agencies about their use of leave without pay to ensure it is being granted in a “politically neutral manner.”

Two lawmakers are taking a closer look at the use of leave by federal employees to participate in union political activity.

Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent letters to ten federal agencies seeking information on how each of them grants leave to their employees for participating in campaign activities.

“We write to you regarding the use of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’s (VA) policy of the use of union official Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for political campaign activity,” wrote the lawmakers.

local postmasters who needed the employees present to manage their workloads.

The lawmakers say in their letter they want to ensure that agencies are granting LWOP requests in a “politically neutral manner,” and consequently are seeking data since 2008 about each agency’s use of LWOP in the three months leading up to an election.

The letters were sent to these agencies:

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Transportation
  • Social Security Administration
  • Department of Treasury
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of one of the letters is included below.

2017- 08-21 Letter to VA LWOP for Union Activity

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.