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Spoils System

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The spoils system is the system through which jobs and appointments are handed out to political supporters in the event that a political party wins an election.

This process historically used to be widespread in US Politics, however it has become somewhat curtailed in vast areas of the federal government thanks to the Hatch Act of 1939, which forbid federal employees from engaging the many political activities.

However, the spoils system does still exist, especially in the Executive Office of the President. In this office, the President is free to select the staff who work in EXOP. There are typically a huge number of roles to fill within the office, so as such many of the campaign staff who got the President elected will move into political roles in the Executive Office. It is often the case that campaign directors go on to become the Chief of Staff after a successful election.

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