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  • NJ A402
  • Requires issue advocacy organization disclosure; increases disclosure of campaign finance information; raises amount of money contributable to committees; modifies restrictions on contributions by certain business entities performing public contracts.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill makes various changes to the "The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act" concerning campaign contribution limits, expenditures, and reporting requirements, and modifies the current law regulating the awarding of public contracts to business entities that make campaign contributions, commonly referred to as the "pay to play" law. The bill also requires the creation and maintenance of a searchable unified database, available to the public on the Internet, of all public contracts awarded by government entities in this State. Specifically, the bill would require disclosure by any organization organized under section 527, or under paragraph (4) of subsection c. of section 501, of the federal Internal Revenue Code that engages in influencing or attempting to influence the outcome of any election or the selection, nomination, or election of any person to any State or local elective public office or the passage or defeat of any public question, or in providing political information on any candidate or public question, and raises or expends $3,000 or more for any such purpose. It would require these organizations to report contribution and expenditure information to Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) and to include certain information that identifies the organization on any communication paid for by the organization which attempts to influence a candidate election or the adoption or defeat of a public question, or which provides political information. The bill would prohibit a candidate from establishing, authorizing the establishment of, maintaining, or participating directly or indirectly in the management or control of, any issue advocacy organization. With regard to the current "pay to play" law, the bill would: 1) create one uniform law applicable at all levels of government, including the Executive Branch, State authorities, Legislative Branch, counties, municipalities, local boards of education, and fire districts, to the awarding of public contracts to business entities that have made campaign contributions; 2) eliminate provisions of existing law that exclude contracts awarded pursuant to a "fair and open process" from "pay-to-play" proscriptions and provide instead that only contracts that are valued at $17,500 or less will be excluded; 3) modify the law so that a business entity's contributions to a political party committee at that level of government where a contract is awarded would not be considered, in determining if a contract may be awarded, if the contract is awarded pursuant to a "fair and open process"; 4) increase the amount that may be contributed by business entities from the current $300 to $3,000 when a contract is one that is awarded after public advertisement for bids and bidding therefor, and $1,000 for all other contracts without violating the "pay to play" law; 5) provide that contributions by a political committee or continuing political committee that has as its members the employees of a business entity and that is funded, directed, and administered in its entirety by such employees will not be considered contributions by the business entity; 6) require a business to disclose information about public contracts received, and campaign contributions made, after the business has received public contracts valued at greater than $17,500 from a single public entity, instead of after the business has received $50,000 or more in public contracts as provided by current law, and provide that no report required to be filed can be required to include proprietary information from the holder of the public contract; 7) permit any entity required to file a report, certification or statement with ELEC to file such a report, certification, or statement via the Internet beginning on the 180th day following enactment of the bill; 8) give ELEC the authority to determine if the sale of subscription or recurring services, such as for telecommunications, electricity, or natural gas services, to a county or municipal government, or an agency, authority, or instrumentality thereof, that does not exceed $17,500 in any calendar year must be included in the annual disclosure required of business entities; 9) provide that the "pay to play" law does not apply to redevelopers that enter or propose to enter into redevelopment agreements with a State redevelopment entity, specifically superseding Executive Order No. 118 of 2008; and 10) expressly supersede and preempt local government regulation of "pay to play" and supersede Executive Order No. 117 of 2008 which imposes additional "pay to play' requirements for State contracting. As part of these changes for uniformity, the bill repeals sections of law that currently address "pay to play" in the context of State Executive Branch contracting and that allow local governments to adopt their own "pay to play" policies. The bill also repeals a "pay to play" law, enacted in 2003, specific to energy aggregation program contracts between a county or municipality and a licensed electric power supplier, licensed gas supplier, or appliance repair service provider. In addition, the bill would: 1) require that all contributions received by a candidate or a committee are to be disclosed to ELEC, instead of only contributions that are in excess of $300; 2) require that all forms and reports that are required to be filed by a candidate or a committee with ELEC must be filed through the Internet site of ELEC beginning on the 180th day following enactment of the bill; 3) lower the expenditure threshold for reporting by continuing political committees from $4,900 to $3,000, and increase the threshold for such reports for political committees from $2,400 to $3,000 and abolish the automatic quadrennial adjustment by ELEC of those thresholds; 4) require candidate committees that at any time receive a contribution or make an expenditure of more than $3,000 to file a report with ELEC within 48 hours of the receipt of the contribution or the making of the expenditure; 5) require political party and legislative leadership committees and issue advocacy organizations that receive a contribution from one or more sources of more than $3,000 in the aggregate to report such contributions to ELEC within 48 hours of their receipt, including the date and amount of each contribution, and require those same committees and organizations that make or authorize one or more expenditures of money or other thing of value more than $3,000 in the aggregate to make similar reports to ELEC and remove certain requirements to report when a single contribution of $500 is made during certain times of the year; 6) raise the amount of money that can be contributed by an individual, a corporation or union, or a group to a candidate committee from $2,600 per election to $3,000 per election, as recommended by ELEC; 7) raise the amount of money that can be contributed by a candidate committee, political committee, or continuing political committee to a candidate committee from $8,200 per election to $9,200 per election, as recommended by ELEC; 8) delete the requirement that a candidate for an office elected by a municipal or countrywide constituency, or a school district, file a certified copy of the campaign treasurer's report with the clerk of the county in which the candidate resides; 9) abolish the automatic quadrennial adjustment by ELEC of: a) the amount of the amount of money that may be expended on behalf of a candidate without requiring the candidate to file certain contribution reports with ELEC; b) the minimum amount of a contribution to a political committee, continuing political committee, legislative leadership committee or a political party committee received during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election which triggers an obligation to report that contribution to the commission; c) the minimum amount of a contribution to a candidate, candidate committee or joint candidates committee received during the period between the 13th day prior to the election and the date of the election which triggers an obligation to report that contribution to the commission; and d) the minimum amount of expenditure by continuing political committees during certain periods specified by law which triggers an obligation to report that expenditure; 10) increase from $500, as provided for by statute, to $1,500 the threshold for reporting a contribution received by a candidate committee or a political committee between 13 days prior to an election and the day of the election, from $800, as provided for by statute, to $1,500 the threshold for the reporting of expenditures by a candidate committee during the same period, and from $500, as provided for by statute, to $1,500 the threshold for the reporting of expenditures by political committees between 13 days prior to an election and the day of the election; 11) increase from $500, as provided for by statute, to $1,500 the threshold for reporting a contribution received by a continuing political committee during the period specified by law, and from $500, as provided for by statute, to $1,500 the threshold for the reporting of expenditures during the same period; and 12) require the timely and detailed reporting by business entities of information, with a copy, about any public contract with a value of more than $17,500 between the business entity and a State agency, county, municipality, fire district, or school board, or an agency, authority, or instrumentality thereof, to be made available to the public on the Internet through a searchable unified database developed and maintained by the State Treasurer, with links to the database from the website of the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Education and with failure to disclose subjecting the business entity to being barred from all public contracts for a period of up to two years.
Judiciary
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified