Compliance Corner: Calling all NJ Government Contractors—The ELEC Pay-to-Play Annual Disclosure March 30th Filing Deadline is Approaching
March 6, 2023 | By: Avi D. Kelin, Esq.
New Jersey’s annual pay-to-play filing deadline will be here at the end of March. If your business entity received payments of $50,000 or more (in the aggregate) as a result of New Jersey government contracts during the 2022 calendar year, the time has come to begin preparing your Business Entity Annual Statement (“Form BE”).
Form BE must be filed electronically with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission no later than Thursday, March 30, 2023.
Although this filing obligation has been in effect since 2006, many companies still have questions about the Form BE itself and what needs to be disclosed. So, if your company does business with New Jersey government entities, here are some of the key factors you need to keep in mind:
- The obligation to file arises whenever payments from NJ government entities to a business reach the $50,000 aggregate threshold, regardless of whether the contract was awarded prior to the 2022 calendar year and regardless of whether your company has any political contributions to report. Each separate business entity that meets this filing threshold must file its own report, so multiple affiliates or subsidiaries may each have their own filing obligations depending on which part of the company held government contracts.
- In reviewing your list of government contracts, in addition to determining whether your company holds State, County and Municipal contracts, you need to determine whether your company holds contracts with Boards of Education, Fire Districts and Independent Authorities. All contracts should be included on your list – regardless of method of contract award and regardless of the amount you were paid for each contract (remember: the $50,000 threshold is an aggregate (not per contract) threshold).
- Detailed contract and contribution information must be disclosed whenever your company or a covered individual made a “reportable” contribution during the 2022 calendar year (under current law, a “reportable” contribution is a contribution greater than $300 per election or greater than $300 per calendar year depending on the recipient committee).
- If you have no “reportable” contributions, but reach the $50,000 contracting threshold, you will file the “Short Form BE”. If you have “reportable” contributions, you will file the “Long Form BE”. Although the use of two different Form BEs is new this year, the detail of information you are required to report remains the same as in previous years – you are only required to report detailed contract and contribution information on your Form BE filing if a covered contributor made a reportable contribution during the 2022 calendar year.
If you aren’t sure whether you have contributions to report, you need to review your company’s records and survey all covered individuals and entities (which may include subsidiaries, PACs, officers, partners, principals, directors and the spouses of your officers, partners, principals and directors).
Compliance Tip: Although you may be thinking that you still have a month to go and have been filing this form for years, the information you need to report and disclose changes from year-to-year based on contract and contribution information. Also, keep in mind that new individuals may be covered each year depending on personnel changes in your company. So…it is time to get started! Just remember, there is no reason why you cannot file before the March 30th deadline.
Rebecca Moll Freed, Esq. and Avi D. Kelin, Esq. are Partners who specialize in the Corporate Political Activity Law practice at Genova Burns LLC and regularly assist companies with developing and implementing Political Activity compliance policies and procedures. Ms. Freed can be reached via email here and Mr. Kelin can be reached via email here, or call 973.533.0777.
An earlier version of this post appeared in InsiderNJ.