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The State House in Trenton. (Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

ELEC: Public contractor contributions fall to seven-year low

By Nikita Biryukov, April 28 2020 10:40 am

Campaign contributions by political contractors fell to their lowest level since 2012 last year, according to a report released by the Election Law Enforcement Commission Tuesday.

The firms gave a little more than $8 million to political campaigns last year, down 17% from the almost $10 million they gave in 2018.

Remington & Vernick Engineers, a Camden-based engineering firm, gave more than any other firm, donating $556,550.

Other engineering companies, like CME Associates and T&M Associates also gave generously. The two firms have combined total contributions of $787,033.

Between them, Remington, CME and T&M reported having about $123 million worth of public contracts.

The three engineering companies and seven other firms that make up the 10 businesses that made the most contributions account for 32% of all donations reported by public contractors, though their contracts are collectively worth just 2% of the state total.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and the various entities under its umbrella continued to be far and away the largest recipient of public contracts.

The insurance company had roughly $5.3 billion in public contracts last year, alone accounting for more than half of the roughly 9.5 billion public contract dollars awarded in the state, though Horizon made just $30,800 in campaign contributions.

The General Majority PAC, a dark money group with ties to South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross, was the top recipient of public contractor dollars with $234,800 raised from the group.

Countywide candidate committees, mostly those in Middlesex County, accounted rounded out the top 10 recipients list.

Still, public contractor contributions to PACs and independent groups fell sharply in 2019, dropping 30% from its 2018 levels.

The contractors gave $1,212,441 to such groups in 2019, the lowest amount given since 2012.

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