Does your company do business with New Jersey government entities? Does your company make political contributions to New Jersey political recipients? Does your company have a political action committee/continuing political committee that is active in New Jersey? Do your officers, directors, partners or their spouses make political contributions to New Jersey recipients? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are most likely required to file an Annual Pay-to-Play Disclosure Form for calendar year 2018.
The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) requires each business entity that received payments of $50,000 or more (in the aggregate) as a result of government contracts during the 2018 calendar year to electronically file a Business Entity Annual Statement (“Form BE”) with ELEC no later than Monday, April 1, 2019. (Although the Form BE must be filed in most years by March 30, the deadline has been extended this year because March 30 falls on a Saturday this year.)
The obligation to file arises whenever payments from New Jersey government entities reach the $50,000 threshold. This includes contracts with the State of New Jersey Executive and Legislative branches, counties, municipalities, boards of education, fire districts, and independent authorities, regardless of method of award.
Whether the $50,000 filing threshold is reached depends on payments received by the business entity during 2018. Therefore, the obligation to file may vary from year to year—a business entity that was not required to file in previous years may still be obligated to file for calendar year 2018.
Last, detailed contract and contribution information must be disclosed whenever the business entity or a covered individual made a “reportable” contribution during 2018. A contribution is “reportable” when it exceeds $300 per reporting period. In light of these requirements, it is necessary to review personal political contributions made by a business entity’s partners, officers, and directors (and certain members of their families). Additionally, because of varying election cycles, it may be necessary to review contributions made over the course of several years to determine whether any 2018 contributions are reportable.
Companies that fail to file on time or that file inaccurately may be subject to monetary penalties. To ensure a timely and accurate filing, companies that have yet to begin preparing Form BE should not delay.