Perkins cleared in federal challenge

Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, has been cleared of charges he violated federal law by serving in the Legislature.

Perkins, deputy chief of the Henderson Police Department, was accused of violating the federal Hatch Act, which prohibits officials who manage federal funding from running for or holding local or federal political office.

Judge William Kocol of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, dismissed the charges saying Perkins' job "is not in connection with an activity that is financed, in whole or in part, by federal funds under the Hatch Act."

The original charges were made by a group of Republicans, Independent American party members and other anti-tax forces who objected to Perkins' service in the Legislature as well as the elected members who are teachers or hold other governmental posts. The group made it clear their goal was to force Perkins and the other public workers - who the group says use their votes to benefit themselves - out of the Legislature.

Perkins said at the time his department had taken all necessary steps to ensure he was not in charge of federal money coming to the Henderson Police Department.

"I am glad to have this partisan witch-hunt put to rest," he said Tuesday. "From the start I have said that the special counsel's complaint was absolutely baseless and did nothing but waste taxpayer money."

He said the ruling is a victory for every police officer, firefighter or teacher who wants to serve in elective office.


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