New Jersey’s Pay-to-Play Annual Disclosure filing deadline is less than one month away. New Jersey law requires each business entity that received payments of $50,000 or more (in the aggregate) as a result of New Jersey government contracts during the 2019 calendar year to electronically file a Business Entity Annual Statement (“Form BE”) with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) no later than Monday, March 30, 2020.
The obligation to file arises whenever payments from New Jersey government entities to a business reach the $50,000 aggregate threshold regardless of whether a contract was awarded prior to the 2019 calendar year and regardless of whether the company has any political contributions to report. This includes contracts with the State of New Jersey Executive and Legislative branches, independent authorities, counties, municipalities, boards of education, and fire districts, regardless of method of contract award.
Detailed contract and contribution information must be disclosed whenever the business entity or a covered individual made a "reportable" contribution during the 2019 calendar year. When reviewing your company’s records to determine whether a detailed Form BE must be filed, please keep the following in mind:
- A contribution is "reportable" when it exceeds $300 per reporting period for the recipient (which could be per election or per calendar year depending on the political recipient). Because of varying election cycles, it may be necessary to review contributions over the course of several years to determine whether any 2019 contributions are reportable.
- Not only do you have to disclose reportable contributions made by the company, you are also required to disclose personal political contributions made by your company’s owners, partners, officers, and directors (and certain members of their families)
This filing requirement has been in effect since 2006. All businesses that meet the $50,000 threshold should be following a compliance plan that accurately tracks covered contracts and contributions and facilitates reporting. Now is the time to move from tracking into filing preparation mode. It is also a good time to conduct an annual audit to ensure that all contributions are in full compliance with applicable law and that no contributions jeopardize eligibility for any government contract.
Companies that fail to file on time may be subject to government investigations and monetary penalties. To ensure a timely and accurate filing, companies that have yet to begin preparing Form BE for the 2019 calendar year or that have failed to file Form BE for previous calendar years should not delay.