Birdsall case shows N.J. prosecutors are serious about pay-to-play crimes

A fifth former employee of a politically connected engineering firm has pleaded guilty in the biggest criminal case related to New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws.

Birdsall Services Group disguised more than a million dollars in corporate political contributions as personal donations from employees to avoid being disqualified from state contracts.

The takeaway from this case is that the pay-to-play laws are on the books for good reason, said Elie Honig, the director of New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice.

“They ensure an even playing field and prevent political donors from getting an unfair leg up on public contracts,” he said. “The public ought to understand that violation of these laws is a criminal offense. We will prosecute and violators will go to prison as they are in this case.”

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The Birdsall company, which paid more than $2 million in penalties, is now out of business.

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