New Jersey special interest political action committees spent $28.2 million in 2010, 20.4 percent less than in 2009, according to a report by the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Business and trade association PACs increased their spending, while union, professional and ideological PACs spent less, according to ELEC. Unions make up most PAC spending.
ELEC Executive Director Jeff Brindle said in a statement there were only a handful of special elections in the state in 2010.
“By contrast, heavy PAC spending occurred in 2009 because the governor’s seat and all 80 Assembly seats were at stake,” Brindle said.
Total business PAC spending increased from $1.47 million in 2009 to $1.95 million in 2010, while trade association PAC spending rose from $1.88 million in 2009 to $1.93 million in 2010. Union spending fell from $24.2 million to $17.1 million.
While none of the 25 largest-spending groups were business PACs, four were affiliated with trade associations. They include the New Jersey Apartment Association, which spent $193,640, the ninth-highest amount in 2010, up from No. 38 in 2009; Constructors for Good Government, which spent $115,825; CAR PAC, $77,887; and Builders PAC, $72,235.
The Realtors PAC was the highest-spending professional PAC, at $362,476 in 2010; followed by the NJ Dental PAC, at $162,397; and the NJ Funeral Directors PAC, at $136,443.
The largest PACs had a sharper decline in direct contributions to state and local fundraising committees than the overall PAC spending drop. This category fell from $11.3 million in 2009 to $4.6 million in 2010.
The NJ State Carpenters Non-Partisan Political Education Committee spent the most of any PAC in 2010, $476,385.