June 3, 2008

By: Jisha V. Dymond

Connecticut's Pay-To-Play Law

Pay-to-play has become a term familiar to those with state business in New Jersey. But New Jersey isn’t the only state with this type of law – another is Connecticut.

The Connecticut pay-to-play legislation was passed in December 2005. The law imposes an absolute ban on campaign contributions made and solicited by state contractors, prospective state contractors, and their principals. Once a contractor makes or solicits a proscribed contribution, the state is prohibited from awarding a contract for one year after the election for which the contribution was made. The law also requires the CEO of a company to notify the “principals” of the company that they may not make or solicit contributions to covered officials or committees. The prohibition applies to the branch of government with which the contractor or prospective state contractor does business, and exempts the holders of valid prequalification certificates. Thus, with respect to contracts with a state agency in the executive branch or quasi-public agencies, the recipients covered are candidates for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state comptroller, secretary of the state and state treasurer. With respect to contracts issued by the General Assembly, the recipients covered are candidates for the office of state senator or representative.

In February 2007, Connecticut made several changes to its pay-to-play law, including an amendment which narrowed the definition of “principal” so as to include:

• Individuals owning 5% or more of the company’s stock;
• Members of the company’s Board of Directors
• Those with the title of president, treasurer, or executive vice president;
• Spouses and dependent children (age 18 or older and living at home) of the above; and
• A political action committee established or controlled by an individual described above or by the state contractor or prospective state contractor.

Another amendment to the law includes a 30-day cure provision for refunding impermissible contributions.

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