New Jersey, already home to some of the most complex and restrictive pay-to-play laws in the nation, is considering an aggressive new expansion of those laws. A bill under consideration that recently passed through a senate committee would prohibit certain individuals and entities involved in managing state employee retirement funds from making contributions to national, federal, or other out-of-state political parties and committees to the same extent it currently prohibits them for in-state committees. If adopted into law, this could restrict politically active individuals and entities concerned about New Jersey’s pay-to-play law from making contributions to the DNC, RNC, the national congressional committees, and the Democratic and Republican Governors’ Associations. It is even possible, depending on the final language and how it is implemented, that this new law could affect contributions to other federal and non-New Jersey political committees.
This legislation appears to stem from two sources. First, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the current chairman of the RGA, and both the RGA and RNC supported his re-election campaign. State labor officials have cried foul on contributions from investment managers to those committees, saying their contributions benefitted Christie’s election and political influence. Second, the State Investment Council amended its regulations in March 2014 to explicitly exclude national party committees from the contribution ban. This bill seeks to repeal those exclusions and affirmatively include the federal, national, and out-of-state entities in the ban.
An identical bill, A3772, is in committee in the General Assembly. We will be closely monitoring the progress of these bills.