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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The newspapers the next day cried, 'What Price Treachery?' -- Call, Assembly Jumps,' etc. The Senate, nevertheless, passed the bill easily; but the governor had to get through a bill to provide funds to enforce the new tax. The farmers and dairymen, for whom the New Jersey Republicans have a special respect, wanted milk exempted, and the governor 'Boss Cracks Whip' -- `Dirty Business' -- `Bosses consented to accept their amendment; then every other kind of business man wanted his commodity exempted, but the governor firmly refused.

When the enforcement bill and the milk amendment came up on June 24 they were passed and all other amendments were defeated by the same vote that had passed the bill in the first place. During the debate upon them Assemblyman (later Congressman) Parnell Thomas of Bergen County charged that a patronage deal had been made between Mayor Hague and Governor Hoffman to pass the bill and to defeat amendments. Mr. Thomas was followed by John Rafferty, the minority leader, who denied that any trading had been done, and demanded what evidence Thomas had. The evidence came faster than Thomas had expected; even while Rafferty was speaking word came to the Assembly that the governor had just sent to the Senate Rafferty's nomination to the Court of Errors and Appeals. When Thomas got the floor he presented the evidence that had been called for, and Rafferty had nothing further to say.

Mayor Hague made no comment, but from that time on it was clear that he had a working understanding with Governor Hoffman. Minority members of New Jersey's numerous boards and commissions nominated by the governor were Hague Democrats, and a fifty-fifty division of the sales-tax enforcement jobs was made. He had profited from the lesson he had learned in the Larson case; he did not help out Republicans for nothing.

The governor denied at the time that any deal had been made, but according to an Associated Press dispatch he said to the Sea Girt Republican Club on June 18, `If they [the Clean Government Republicans] had stood with me it would not have been necessary for me to ask for Democratic help.' The conviction he had revealed in his inaugural address that leadership in a democracy must be a leadership responsible to the voters had evidently been abandoned.


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