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Spike in pay-to-play contributors

New ELEC report shows public contractor contributions up 4% in 2017

By David Wildstein, April 09 2018 10:08 am

New Jersey pay-to-play laws didn’t intimidate campaign contributors in 2017, according to a report filed today with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Campaign contributions from public contractors increased by 4% from last year, from $9 million to $9.4 million, the analysis showed.  There were no state elections in 2016.

“It is clear the 2017 contest to replace Governor Chris Christie after eight years in office and historic spending in the third legislative district created huge stakes for all contributors, including public contractors,” said Jeff Brindle, ELEC’s Executive Director.

There are other ways for a public contractor to help the candidates of their choice, especially with the advent of the Super PAC.

“Even with more incentive to give last year, contributions from contractors are down 43 percent from the peak year of 2007,” Brindle said. “Party coffers have fallen off almost as sharply, and this trend has given a big edge to special interest groups operating independently of parties and candidates.”

Any firm who receives $50,000 or more in public contracts in a year must report all of the campaign contributions to ELEC.

The analysis shows that the top ten contractors, as ranked by their campaign contributions, gave about 28% of all public contractor political contributions in 2017 – about $2.6 million.

“We hope the new Murphy administration and the Legislature will take up ELEC-recommended legislation this year that would greatly simplify pay-to-play laws, increase the amount contractors can give, and allow parties to accept more than just token donations from contractors,” Brindle said.

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