New Jersey State Pay-to-Play Rules and Federal Elections

New Jersey has its own individual pay-to-play rules that do not apply to federal candidates regardless of the state office that the candidate holds. The two sets of New Jersey pay-to-play rules (“Pay to Play Rules”) of concern are: (i) New Jersey statutory rules for state contracts under N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.13-20.25, and (ii) New Jersey regulations of the New Jersey State Investment Council (“SIC”) pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.1 to 4.11. The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) and the New Jersey State Treasurer have stated that contributions to a federal account that are to be used only in federal elections will not trigger the New Jersey pay-to-play rules. See Advisory Opinion No. 03-2006; Letter of Bradley I. Abelow, New Jersey State Treasurer, June 23, 2006.

The SIC regulations are applicable to political contributions and payments to political parties. See N.J.A.C. 17:16-4.2. Political contribution is defined as a contribution for the purpose of influencing any election for New Jersey state office, and under certain circumstances, any election for New Jersey local office. Since candidate committee for President is a candidate committee for a federal office, contributions to the committee are not political contributions. The SIC regulations define a “political party” as one that does not include a federal or national campaign committee, or nonstate political committee, even if such federal, national, or non-state committee makes payments or contributions to which the regulations would otherwise apply.

The full text of the advisory can be found here.

Steven H. Sholk, a Director in the Gibbons Corporate Department, William J. Palatucci, Special Counsel in the Gibbons Corporate Department, and Robert Johnson, an Associate in the Gibbons Government Affairs and Corporate Departments, authored this post.