Tony Ghee and the Hatch Act Story

A big part of District 11 congressional candidate Antony Ghee’s resume is that he is a major in the Army Reserves.
 
But will that seemingly impressive background end up hurting, or even derailing, his candidacy for the Republican nomination in a five-person contest to replace the retiring Rodney P. Frelinghuysen?
 
Probably not, but some of his opponents may try.
 
Reports surfaced this week among some Morris Republicans that Ghee’s status as an Army major may make him ineligible to run because of the federal Hatch Act.
 
Ghee says he’s checked things out and there is no problem. Nonetheless, the so-called Hatch Act “problem”  likely will be raised when the candidates debate later this week.
 
The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 when a New Deal era-fueled government was expanding. With more Americans getting, or about to get, federal jobs, the idea was to shield workers from political coercion while they were on the job. (Not that something like that would ever occur).
 
In the theoretical world, at least,  thanks to the Hatch Act, federal employees, unlike their state and local counterparts, need not worry about being forced to stuff envelopes or campaign in any way for a local candidate.
 
An explanation of the Hatch Act that appeared last August in a U.S. Army publication is being circulated by some Morris Republicans. It explains that “with a few exceptions, they (federal employees) may also not be candidates for public office in a partisan (party affiliated) election.”  Congress is most obviously a partisan election.
 
Another passage in the article notes that federal employees “may not solicit or receive a campaign donation or contribution for a partisan political party, candidate, or group at any time or place,  whether on or off duty.”
 
Ghee is not concerned.
 
He said in a phone conversation that his status as a major in the Reserves would be problematic only if he did the following; Campaign in uniform, specifically say voters should support him because of his rank or use his military position in any way to solicit campaign funds.
 
With no plans to do any of the above, Ghee says this is not a serious concern for him.
 
Maybe not, But the scuttlebutt among some in the party over this issue could make for a lively debate.
 
Others in the race in alphabetical order are Pat Allocca, Peter DeNeufville, Martin Hewitt and Jay Webber.  The candidates are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Randolph Diner. The debate is sponsored by the Young Republicans of Morris County.
 
(Visited 103 times, 1 visits today)

2 responses to “Tony Ghee and the Hatch Act Story”

  1. Those peddling this need to take this up with COL Lindsey Graham, US Air Force Reserve, retired, who simultaneously served in the U.S. House and later the Senate while in the reserves and National Guard.

    • just because no one picked that up back then when LG campaigned does not set a legal precedent. To at least comply somewhat to hatch, Ghee should delete his army stint from his campaign bio so he doesnt use that as fundraising fodder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape