For fifth year, political contributions ebb from firms doing business with N.J.

Political contributions by companies that get government contracts in New Jersey are down for the fifth straight year. It’s not just because of ethics reforms.

The $9.1 million that public contractors gave to candidates last year was 5 percent lower than the year before. Much of the decline is attributed to the state’s pay-to-play law that limits contractor donations.

That’s not the only reason, says Jeff Brindle with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

“You have to give a little credit to the local officials and public officials in general in terms of how they’ve striven to cut budgets and I think part of that is reducing somewhat the public contracts that are doled out,” he said.

Brindle says disclosing the contribution data makes public officials think about the contracts they’re giving out and could influence the decisions made by voters.

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