Public contractors spend significantly less these days on political contributions; 2010's $9.4 million was the lowest amount of New Jersey political contributions by contractors since the pay-to-play restrictions were put in place in 2006.
In 2007, the last year in which both houses of the legislature were up for re-election, contractors donated $16.4 million to political candidates. Contributions have dropped steadily since.
The five largest engineering and development companies making donations last year were T&M Associates ($435,110), CME Associates ($346,650), Remington & Vernick Engineers Inc. ($342,450), Pennoni Associates ($201,020) and Maser Consulting ($193,590).
Jeff Brindle, executive director of the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission, speculated that the reasons for the drop could range from the economy, the lack of major elections last year, the rise of political action committees and the fear of violating pay-to-play laws. Those laws require companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000 to limit contributions to $300 per candidate or political party.