Home>Highlight>N.J. special interest groups spent $95 million in 2022

The headquarters of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in Trenton. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

N.J. special interest groups spent $95 million in 2022

NJEA is 21st century’s biggest spender by far, but spent much less in 2022

By Joey Fox, March 09 2023 4:52 pm

New Jersey’s special interest groups collectively spent $95,076,034 on lobbying in 2022, a slight decrease from previous years but still the fourth-highest total in state history, according to a new report released this morning by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

The all-time record was set in 2020, when nearly $107 million was spent lobbying in New Jersey. According to ELEC executive director Jeff Brindle, the decrease since then is representative of a broader cooldown in government activity.

“The last five years have been a relatively tumultuous time for the state and lobbyists,” Brindle said in a release accompanying the report. “Things seem to be settling down somewhat.”

No one lobbying group came anywhere close to dominating the field this year. Like in 2021, the biggest spender was the utility giant PSE&G, which spent $849,112 – a significant decrease from the $2.7 million it spent last year. Also in the top five were the ACLU of New Jersey, the NJ Association of Realtors, the AARP, and the League of Municipalities.

One notable group that was missing from the list of top spenders was the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the state’s juggernaut teachers’ union. The NJEA spent $357,260 on lobbying this year, which according to ELEC is their lowest yearly expenditure since 2014.

Looking at lobbying firms themselves, the Princeton Public Affairs Group was the most lucrative firm in 2022, at $11,276,181 in receipts; joining it in the top five were Public Strategies Impact, CLB Partners, the Zita Group, and MBI Gluckshaw.

The report also took a deeper dive into special interest expenditures dating back to 2000 – and on that list, the NJEA reigns supreme. In the 21st century, the union has spent an astonishing $52,560,827 on lobbying, more than three times the amount that the next biggest spender, the AARP, spent during that same time period.

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