After shelling out money at a record pace during the 2009 election cycle, special interest Political Action Committees slashed their spending by more than 20 percent in 2010, according to a new report from the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
The drop is attributable to an off election year in 2010, when only three legislative seats were up for grabs in special elections.
In all, special interest PACS reported $28.2 million in contributions in 2010, down from $35.4 million in 2009, a gubernatorial election year.
Spending by the top 25 PACS dropped even more precipitously in 2010 over a year earlier. In 2009, the top 25 PACs alone reported contributing $11.3 million directly to state and local fundraising committees. Last year, the top 25 PACs reported direct contributions of just $4.6 million in New Jersey – a 59 percent reduction.
Unions continue to be the most dominant contributors, doling out more than $17 million in 2010, versus more than $24 million in 2009.
The carpenters union PAC took top honors in 2010, dishing out $476,000 to legislative candidates and county and local parties and candidates.
Factoring in only state spending, the Realtors PAC topped spending in 2010 at $271,000. The New Jersey Education Association, which ranked number one in spending in 2009 as it battled against then-gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, dropped to number eight in 2010.