WASHINGTON -- When federal worker and sometime fisherman Bob Spore, of Pasadena, learned that it would soon be illegal for him to earn money for writing or speaking about his hobby, he was livid.
"Right now, I am praying to get out of the government as soon as possible. I want nothing to do with these people," said Spore, 51, a budget officer at the National Security Agency who for 20 years has been writing and lecturing on outdoor issues in his spare time.
Spore is one of 10 federal workers suing the government over a provision in the 1989 Ethics Reform Act that bans civil servants from accepting fees for articles or speeches about subjects unrelated to their jobs. Other plaintiffs in the suit are the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union.
The outcry has attracted attention on Capitol Hill, where House and Senate subcommittees held hearings last week to debate remedies to the ban. Several members of Congress, including Rep. Constance Morella, R-8th, have introduced legislation that would exempt full-time, career civil servants from the provision.
"We are discouraging federal employees from being creative on their own time," Morella said