PAY TO PLAY DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS AND CONTRIBUTION RESTRICTIONS IN NEW JERSEY
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STATE EXECUTIVE BRANCH CONTRACTORS
Contractors are prohibited from entering most state contracts above $17,500 if the firm or its management-level employees or their spouses mad e contributions of more than $300 during the 18 months preceding award of the contract. The ban on negotiating contracts can be even longer if it involves contributions to a Governor or Lieutenant Governor.
The $300 limit affects contributions to candidates for Governor or Lieutenant Governor, state political party committee s, legislative leadership committees, or county or municipal political party committees.
Exceptions include: contracts for highway projects eligible for federal highway funds, contracts that violate federal eminent domain law and potentially other federal laws; contracts with out-of state firms or involving bi-state authorities; and contracts awarded in response to an emergency .
CONTRACTORS HIRED BY THE LEGISLATURE, COUNTIES, MUNICIPALITIE S, COUNTY AND LOCAL INDEPENDENT AUTHORITIES, BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND FIRE DISTRICTS
These entities have the right to award contracts through a “fair and open process.” They also can adopt stricter pay-to-play laws. As of this writing, seven counties and 176 municipalities, school boards and authorities have adopted ordinances, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
For contracts awarded through the “fair and open process,” the $300 contribution limit does not apply, nor is pre-contract disclosure required. Otherwise, these requirements do apply .
A state contractor must disclose its contributions to the contracting entity no later than 10 days prior to the execution of any qualifying state contract.
A contractor awarded a legislative, county or local contract must disclose its contributions to the applicable governmental entity no later than 10 days prior to the date of the awarding resolution unless the contract is publicly bid or subject to a “fair and open process.” The “fair and open” process includes public advertising of contracts and public awards, but not competitive bidding.
A contractor that receives $50,000 or more in public contracts in the previous calendar year must electronically file an annual report with ELEC by March 30 listing contract and campaign contribution activities. Those that made no contribution s must report their inactivity.