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Pay-to-Play Spotlight: New Jersey Supreme Court Rules against Pay-to-Play Violator

March 2009

On January 15, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision against Earle Asphalt Company in an important pay-to-play decision. The court found that the company did not fully comply with the state's "cure provision" when it tried to take back a contribution it had made to a political party committee in violation of the pay-to-play laws. The result of the decision is that the company remains disqualified for a $6 million paving contract, a disqualification based on the impermissible political party contribution.

Earle Asphalt Company did not challenge the constitutionality of New Jersey's pay-to-play laws, although a decision by a federal district court recently upheld the constitutionality of Connecticut's pay-to-play law. (See the January 2009 issue of Election Law News for more information).

As reported in the November 2008 issue of Election Law News, New Jersey's governor last year expanded the scope of the state's pay-to-play contribution bans to cover contributions to legislative leadership committees and municipal party committees and contributions by officers of state executive branch contractors.
A number of states, including New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, currently are considering pay-to-play regimes in order to fight actual or perceived corruption.