EPA leader suspended
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AUGUST 23, 2000

William Yellowtail, regional administration for Region 8 of the Environment Protection Agency in Denver, Colorado, has been voluntarily suspended without pay for 100 days for allegedly soliciting campaign contributions.

Yellowtail, a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana, is alleged to have violated the Hatch Act. The Act prohibits government employees from soliciting political contributions.

Yellowtail has been on administrative leave without pay since May 26, when the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) filed a petition for disciplinary action against Yellowtail. The OSC alleges Yellowtail allowed his signature and endorsement to be used by the Congressional campaign of fellow Montanan Robert "Dusty" Deschamps.

In 1998, the OSC alleges that Yellowtail met with Deschamps to discuss an endorsement letter. The letter urged recipients to make contributions to Deschamps campaign.

Deschamps later lost his bid to become a US Representative.

Yellowtail has denied that he knowingly violated the Hatch Act. But he has cooperated with the OSC, a factor which has led to the voluntary suspension.

The OSC could have pursued the charges before the Merit Systems Protection Board and Yellowtail could have been removed from his position.

"It's important for federal employees to understand that the Hatch Act prohibits the use of a federal employee's name on fundraising letters or invitations to fundraisers," said Special Counsel Elaine Kaplain.

The OSC is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act.

Yellowtail is the first Native American to hold a regional administration post in the EPA. He was appointed to the position by President Clinton in 1993.

He resigned from the position in 1996 to run for Congress, but subsequently lost the election. He was reappointed in 1997.

Relevant Links:
Region 8, Environmental Protection Agency -
US Office of Special Counsel -
The Hatch Act, Office of Special Counsel -