Lobbyist spending up 14% to $65M in N.J.

    Spending by lobbyists in New Jersey reached a record high of $65 million last year.

    In contrast to the decline at the federal level, lobbyists spent nearly 14 percent more in 2010 than the year before. That’s the biggest increase since 2006.

    Jeff Brindle, state Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director, said much of that spending was for issue advocacy ads in the first year of the Christie administration.

    He pinpointed “the tool kit issue and the reforms recommended for education,”

    “We’ve seen lobbying with regard to the whole issue of deregulation in the casino area as driving up lobbying activity as well,” Brindle said.

    The New Jersey Education Association topped the list, spending $6.6 million on those ads. Excellent Education for Everyone, an advocate for charter schools, was the second-highest with expenditures of more than $458,000.

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