April 8, 2014 | Number of The Day
Contributions to NJ candidates by public contractors shot up 27% in the past election

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.