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Pay-to-Play contractor contributions down in 2018

By David Wildstein, April 08 2019 10:24 am

Campaign contributions by individuals and companies with public contracts in 2018 was the second lowest total ever, according to disclosure reports filed by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Public contractors regulated by state pay-to-play laws contributed about $9 million in 2018, down from $10.4 million the previous year.

The commission director, Jeff Brindle, attributed the drop to the cycle: the governor and all 120 legislators were up for election in 2017.

“Contractors and other donors typically are stingier the year after a gubernatorial election. Contributions also fell after gubernatorial elections in 2013 and 2009,” Brindle said. “From a contributor’s standpoint, the gubernatorial election is the political equivalent of the Superbowl.”

Majority Forward, a political action committee aligned with the U.S. Senate Democratic leadership, reported raising $500,000 from New Jersey contractors.

New Jersey-based real estate developer Hartz Mountain Industries contributed $528,650 — $500,000 to Majority Forward.  The company has over $6.3 million in public contracts.

Several engineering firms also contributed heavily during the 2018 cycle, including Remington & Vernick, which has $39.9 million in public contracts and contributed $515,400.

Correction: This story was updated at 10:52 AM to correct two errors — that this was not the lowest total ever, but the lowest since 2012, and that Majority Forward did not contribute to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.

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