Lobbyists spend $70M to influence state government in 2015

New Jersey lobbyists poured $70 million into influencing government officials in 2015, the second highest level recorded.

New data released Thursday by the Election Law Enforcement Commission shows the biggest spenders included the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, as well as a business and labor coalition lobbying on road funding.

Spending in 2015 was $11.1 million higher than in 2014 and approached the record level of $74 million in 2011 when the Democrat-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Chris Christie enacted a pension overhaul.

In 2015, the NJEA supported Democratic leadership’s plan to put a referendum to require quarterly pension payments on the ballot.

Other big spenders included insurers and hospital groups. That comes as Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield rolls out a new tiered health system.

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