With both houses of the state Legislature and the governor’s office up for grabs in the past election, it should come as little surprise that contributions from public contractors rose $2 million to $10.1 million in 2013.
The two biggest beneficiaries of this largesse were groups tied to Gov. Chris Christie. The Republican Governors Association received $235,000 from New Jersey contractors, and Christie’s reelection campaign received $210,250. Christie’s challenger, Barbara Buono, only received $33,100 from these groups.
Jeffrey Brindle, executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, noted that while there was a surge in contributions last year by public contractors, in general, contributions have been down since the state instituted Pay-to-Play laws. These laws require all businesses that have received $50,000 in total public contracts to report their contributions to ELEC each spring. And with a few exceptions, most are barred from contributing more than $300 to each candidate.
Brindle noted that contributions to political action committees increased 58 percent last year to $1.6 million. PACs are not subject to Pay-to-Play laws.