Upper Township, New Jersey, just added another mine to the minefield that is New Jersey pay-to-play law. We noted in October that Upper Township (1) had adopted a new pay-to-play law and (2) was poised to do so again. According to the Upper Township Gazette, on Monday the Upper Township Committee voted to adopt a new pay-to-play law that prohibits any contributions from municipal contractors to candidates running for local office. Prior to Monday’s vote, contractors were already restricted by both New Jersey state law and the previously adopted Upper Township ordinance. Those laws, however, both made exceptions for de minimis contributions. The new Upper Township law has no exceptions, which may make it vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.
As Upper Township illustrates, state and local pay-to-play laws are in a constant state of flux. What was legal last month might no longer be legal this month. Prior to making or soliciting any contribution, government contractors should make sure that the contribution complies with current law.