Political contributions by public contractors in New Jersey are down for the fifth year in a row. Contributions from contractors fell by 13 percent last year to $9.4 million.
New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission executive director Jeff Brindle says there are several reasons for the decline.
“Probably the economy has had something to do with it as well as the cutbacks in municipal aid,” said Brindle. “There’s an increased scrutiny with regard to pay-to-play and I think that’s had an effect.”
Brindle says some contractors stopped making political contributions for fear of losing business by inadvertently violating pay-to-play laws.
He says contributions may start to increase again as the economy picks up and more infrastructure projects are considered.
That’s a fact not lost on Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. Tittel says that nine of the top ten contributors are engineering firms or law firms that do development work. He says pay-to-play laws have not curbed contributions by contractors looking to design and build roads or new housing.