N.J. State Contractors Increased Political Contributions

Public contractors in New Jersey increased political contributions by 27 percent last year as Governor Chris Christie and all 120 lawmakers faced re-election.

Donations from firms doing business with the state jumped by $2.1 million to $10.1 million, the biggest increase since 2007, according to a report by the Election Law Enforcement Commission. State law bars those with contracts of more than $17,500 from giving more than $300 to a candidate or committee.

About a quarter of the increase went to committees that raised money for the gubernatorial race. The governor and full legislature haven’t been on the same ballot in New Jersey since 2001. Christie, a Republican, won a second term after defeating Democrat Barbara Buono by 22 percentage points in November.

In 2011, the last year there was an increase in public-contractor contributions, that bump amounted to 3 percent, according to the analysis.

“Contractor contributions generally have been slumping since pay-to-play restrictions were first imposed eight years ago,” Jeff Brindle, the commission’s executive director, said in a statement yesterday. “Overall contributions still are down 39 percent from a peak of $16.4 million in 2007.”

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