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The Boss

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

Contributions are also obtained in several different ways from private businesses and private employees. Pet banks, as the Case Committee discovered, received Jersey City deposits `by favor and not by rule,' and for such favors the officers, if not the banks themselves, may be expected to contribute. Persons who hold jobs in private industry obtained for them by politicians cannot be counted upon for any fixed percentage of their incomes, but each one can be induced to pay five or ten dollars at election times or to buy tickets to outings, picnics, and dances. Many legitimate businesses are of such a nature that they operate at the sufferance of the police; health and safety regulations may be enforced so rigidly as to drive some kinds of concerns out of business, and a 'reasonable' interpretation or enforcement may often be obtained by the proper political contributions. Theaters and moving-picture houses are peculiarly vulnerable. As the Case Committee reported:

The moving-picture theaters in Hoboken and Jersey City pay large amounts in connection with the non-enforcement of Sunday closing laws. Samuel Tammen testified that he collected $5400 per year from eight theaters in Hoboken, as the agent of John Delaney, inspector of licenses in Hoboken, and paid the sum collected to him. In Jersey City Joseph E. Bernstein was collector. He collected between $50,000 and $60,000 per year [1924-1928]. (Senate Journal (1949), p. 1191.)


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