08.06.2010website that a contribution drawn upon the firm’s account may be allocated as contributions by individuals, who may – or may not – be covered by the pay-to-play limits. Now comes a New Jersey Supreme Court decision, albeit outside the pay-to-play context, that conversely seeks to bar political contributions from a law firm’s partnership account but not contributions from a partner’s personal account: In the Matter of Philip N. Boggia, Judge of the Municipal Court (D-118-08) . Specifically, the Court would prohibit attorneys who practice law with part-time municipal judges from making contributions from the law firm’s business account because such contributions “create an appearance of political involvement [by the judge] that must be avoided.” The decision does not reference campaign finance law categories, but rather focuses on appearances in an effort to safeguard judicial integrity. Could this mode of analysis have resonance for future interpretations of pay-to-play laws – a focus on the appearance that a contribution threatens the integrity of government procurement determinations, especially under laws with anti-circumvention provisions to guard against indirect violations? Time will tell. More immediately, the decision underscores the need for company policies that protect against principals, partners, officers and employees making monetary contributions from a firm account or using firm resources to make in-kind contributions. In addition, most policies should detail restrictions against and/or compliance review procedures for the making of personal contributions. Finally, the decision is a reminder that a company policy is only as good as its enforcement.
Tag: New Jersey