New Jersey for-profit businesses that were paid $50,000 or more under government contracts for products or services during the 2022 calendar year must file their annual Business Entity Annual Statement (Form BE) with the Election Law Enforcement Commission by March 30.
Attorney Rebecca Moll Freed, a partner at the Genova Burns law firm in Newark, notes in her recent blog post that while the requirement to disclose government contracts has been required under New Jersey’s pay-to-play since 2006, many companies continue to have questions about Form BE itself and what must be disclosed.
“Any company that received payments of $50,000 or more in the aggregate during the 2022 calendar year as a result of New Jersey government contracts at the state, county, municipal, fire district or board of education level of government is required to file,” Freed said.
The filing obligation applies to the calendar year in which the payment was received, not the year the contract was awarded, she said. Another key point to remember is that businesses that were paid $50,000 or more in aggregate (not per contract) must file regardless of whether they made any reportable political contributions in that same calendar year.
There are two different BE forms. Businesses that made no political contributions to candidates or committees during the 2022 calendar year should file Short Form BE. Businesses that have made reportable political contributions of $300 or more, should use Long Form BE, which requires details about both the public contracts and the political contributions that were made.
“Although the use of two different Form BEs is new this year, the detail of information you are required to report remains the same as in previous years – you are only required to report detailed contract and contribution information on your Form BE filing if a covered contributor made a reportable contribution during the 2022 calendar year,” Freed said.
“If you aren’t sure whether you have contributions to report, you need to review your company’s records and survey all covered individuals and entities, which may include subsidiaries, PACs, officers, partners, principals, directors and the spouses of your officers, partners, principals and directors,” Freed said.
Keep in mind the information reported changes from one year to the next based on the contracts and contributions involved, Freed said. Personnel changes may also mean there are new individuals covered by the law and whose political contributions may need to be disclosed, she said.