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New Jersey Statehouse. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

ELEC: PAC fundraising dropped sharply as virus took hold

Groups’ fundraising dropped by 32% in second quarter

By Nikita Biryukov, August 11 2020 10:18 am

Special interest political action committee fundraising plummeted in the second quarter of 2020, dropping by a little more than $4.2 million as COVID-19 gained a foothold in the state.

The special interest groups, which include PACs run by unions, businesses, trade and professional associations and regulated industries, among others, raised a record $13.3 million in the year’s first quarter.

But those revenues dropped by nearly a third, 32%, as the virus took hold.

“It appears the virus crisis plagued PAC treasurers in the second quarter just as it seemed to bedevil party and legislative leaders,” Election Law Enforcement Commission Executive Director Jeff Brindle said. “This is another sign that the virus crisis is having a noticeable impact on political fund-raising. Whether this trend continues remains to be seen. ELEC will be monitoring disclosure reports to track any lingering effects.”

In the last decade, PAC fundraising has suffered a mid-year slump of at most 9%, in 2015 and 2016.

On average, fundraising sees a 15% boost from the first to the second quarter.

Though the drop in fundraising is the largest recorded 12 years, the 235 PACs examined by ELEC still managed to bring in just over $9 million, slightly more than the $8.8 million the groups raised in the second quarter of 2016.

“The latest PAC numbers, combined with previous reports that showed fund-raising slumps by party and legislative committees, suggest fund-raising challenges may lie ahead in the COVID-19 era,” said Brindle.

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