Lobbyist spending in New Jersey surged for the second straight year, growing by 11.2 percent, to $73.3 million, in 2011, driven by mass-media advertising.
“Lobbyists are depending more and more on mass media communications in their effort to influence public policy,” said Jeffrey Brindle, in a statement. Brindle is the executive director of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, which released its annual lobbyist report today.
The ranking of the top eight lobbying firms in the amount of receipts was the same in 2011 as the previous year, although the amount increased for most firms.
The 2011 totals for the firms with the highest receipts were: Princeton Public Affairs Group Inc., $8.32 million; Public Strategies Impact LLC, $5.86 million; MBI-GluckShaw, $3.71 million; Kaufman Zita Group LLC, $2 million; Gibbons P.C., $1.86 million; Capital Public Affairs Inc., $1.44 million; Riker Danzig, $1.44 million; and Impact NJ LLC, $1.42 million.
The NJEA led lobbying spending at $11.26 million, followed by Princeton Public Affairs, at $3 million, and MBI-GluckShaw at $2 million. The lobbying firms’ expenditures are much lower than the receipts, because they spend money on areas other than reportable expenses.
Lobbying spending has risen for four straight years.
NJEA spending on communications was nearly four times higher than the next nine organizations combined. Benefits passing—when lobbyists provide public officials with food and beverages, entertainment, gifts, travel and lodging, honoraria and loans—fell to $5,687 from a peak of $163,375 in 1992.
The average number of lobbyists fell from 965 in 2010 to 936 in 2011.