[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Rahway 6-14-2000 by Ord. No. O-41-00. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Ethics — See Ch. 35.
The title of this chapter is "An Ordinance Banning the Use of Government Buildings and Equipment for Political Fund-Raising."
Solicitation and acceptance of political contributions on public property used in the discharge of official duties threatens the independence of public employees, undermines the efficiency of government by taking officials and employees away from the people's business, and leads to the appearance of improper influence of political contributions on government functions.
Prohibiting the solicitation and acceptance of political contributions on public property used in the discharge of official duties will address these harms and leave open ample alternative venues for political fund-raising.
It is accordingly found and determined that the municipality's interests in an independent and efficient government work force and a government that is undermined by neither the fact nor appearance of improper influence of political contributions on government decisions require the prohibition of political fund-raising on public property used in the discharge of official duties or through the use of public property.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The government of the municipality, including 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 municipal government or of any municipal agency, commission, board or office thereof, whether the position is full time or part time.
- POLITICAL CONTRIBUTION
- Any loans and transfers of money or other things of value to or by any candidate, elected official, or political organization, or other commitments or assumptions of liability to make any such transfer. Political contributions shall be deemed to have been made upon the date when such commitment is made or liability assumed.
- POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
- Any two or more persons acting jointly, or any corporation, partnership or 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 or political party office. "Political organization" includes, but is not limited to, organizations defined in N.J.S.A. 19:44A-3 as a "political committee," "joint candidates committee," "continuing political committee," "political party committee," "candidate committee," or "legislative leadership committee."
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- All real and personal property owned, leased or controlled by the municipal government, including, but not limited to, vehicles, phones, fax machines, computers, stationery, including municipal letterhead, postage and other office equipment. "Public property" is specifically defined herein to exclude public parks, sidewalks, rights-of-way and other common meeting places.
- To ask for, by oral or written communication, a contribution as that term is defined herein.
No municipal official, employee or appointee may solicit, commit to pay or receive payment of or a commitment to pay any political contribution for any candidate, elected official or political organization while utilizing public property.
This section shall include solicitation or acceptance of political contributions made over the telephone or by use of a computer, including private telephones and computers, if the person soliciting or accepting the political contribution or using the telephone or computer for purposes of soliciting or accepting the political contribution is in, on or using public property in the discharge of official duties.
This section shall not be construed to prohibit de minimus use of public property, such as a government-owned or leased car, outside of public property used in the discharge of public duties, in connection with political fund-raising, if the public property is not used in such a way as to convey to a reasonable observer that the fund-raising activity is officially authorized or endorsed.
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a period of community service not exceeding 90 days or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding 90 days or a fine not exceeding $1,000.