The New Jersey Pay-to-Play Annual Disclosure filing deadline is less than a month away. New Jersey law requires every business entity that received payments of $50,000 or more (in total) as a result of contracts with the New Jersey government during the 2020 calendar year to electronically file a report. Business Entity Annual (“Form BE”) with New Jersey. Election Law Enforcement Commission (“ELEC”) no later than Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
The requirement to file arises whenever payments from New Jersey government entities to a company reach the aggregate threshold of $50,000, whether or not a contract was awarded before calendar year 2020 and the company has or not political contributions to report. This includes contracts with executive and legislative branches of the State of New Jersey, independent authorities, counties, municipalities, school boards, and fire districts, regardless of method of contract award.
Detailed contract and contribution information must be disclosed each time the business entity or a covered person made a “reportable” contribution during the 2020 calendar year. When reviewing your company’s records to determine if a detailed BE form needs to be filed, please keep in mind the following:
- 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 policy recipient). Due to varying election cycles, it may be necessary to review contributions over multiple years to determine if 2020 contributions should be reported.
- Not only do you have to disclose reportable contributions made by the company, but you are also required to disclose personal political contributions made by your company’s owners, partners, officers and directors (and certain of their family members)
This filing requirement has been in effect since 2006. All companies that reach the $50,000 threshold must follow a compliance plan that accurately tracks covered contracts and contributions and facilitates reporting. It is now time to move from follow-up to case preparation mode. This is also a good time to conduct an annual audit to ensure that all contributions are fully compliant with applicable law and that no contributions affect eligibility for a government contract.
Companies that do not file on time may be subject to government investigations and monetary penalties. To ensure timely and accurate filing, companies that have not yet started preparing Form BE for calendar year 2020 or have not filed Form BE for previous calendar years should not delay.