[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Colts Neck 2-9-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as "An Ordinance Banning the Use of Government Buildings and Government Equipment for Political Fund-raising."
It is hereby found and determined that:
Political contributions have a profound impact on government decisionmaking.
New Jersey law does not presently ban solicitations or acceptance of contributions by public office holders and employees while on public property or by the use of public facilities.
A conflict of interest may arise between the business of political fund-raising and the business of government in the town hall and other government-owned premises which may cause a distraction from the people's business.
The most appropriate method to prevent this conflict and to ensure the integrity of government decisions is to prohibit political fund-raising on or by the use of public property.
The paramount public interest in a clean and accountable government requires the prohibition of political fund-raising on public property or by the use of public facilities.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any individual seeking election to a public office of the federal government, state, county, municipality, school district or political organization at an election.
- Includes all loans and transfers of money or other thing of value to or by any candidate, elected official or political organization and all pledges or other commitments or assumptions of liability to make any such transfer. Contributions shall be deemed to have been made upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
- This municipality and any officer, department, board, commission or agency thereof.
- MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL, EMPLOYEE AND APPOINTEE
- Any person holding elective municipal office or holding an appointed position in the municipal government, or in any agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full-time or part-time, compensated or uncompensated; and any employee of a municipal government or in any agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full-time or part-time.
- POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
- Any two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership or any other incorporated or unincorporated association which is organized to, or does, aid or promote the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or candidates for federal, state, county, municipal or school board office. Political organization includes, but is not limited to, organizations otherwise defined as a "political committee," "joint candidates committee" and "legislative leadership committee."
- PROPERTY OF THE MUNICIPALITY
- Buildings, land, vehicles, phones, fax machines, computers or other office equipment or supplies and other real or personal property owned, leased or controlled by the municipality, except for public roads and open park land.
- To seek, by oral or written communication, a contribution, as same is defined herein.
Solicitation of political contributions on public property prohibited. No municipal official, employee or appointee may solicit, commit to pay or receive payment of or a commitment to pay any contribution for any candidate, elected official or political organization while in or on the property of the municipality or utilizing the property of the municipality.
Prohibited forms of fund-raising. Prohibited forms of fund-raising shall include but are not limited to:
Soliciting or accepting contributions using municipal telephones, fax machines or computers.
Soliciting or accepting contributions using personal telephones while on the property of the municipality.
Soliciting or accepting contributions through the use of publicly owned computers or privately owned personal computers while on the property of the municipality.
Using municipal letterhead to solicit or accept contributions.
Sending correspondence from municipal buildings or by the use of municipal services, equipment or postage.
Face-to-face soliciting of an individual or an owner or representative of a business entity while on the property of the municipality.
Use of automobiles owned or leased by the municipality to accept or solicit contributions.
Reporting requirements. It shall be the responsibility of any employee, appointee or elected official who observes any prohibited forms of fund-raising to report such conduct to the municipal ethics board, if one exists, or, in the alternative, to the Municipal Prosecutor and the Municipal Clerk, who shall report same to the governing body.
Whistleblower provision. It shall be unlawful for any employee, elected official or appointee to be dismissed, reprimanded, retaliated against or otherwise intimidated for complying with the reporting requirements mandated by this chapter.