Bergen County has now issued updated Political Contribution Disclosure Forms with which County vendors must comply. The “Sunshine” Form must be submitted with each proposal and the “REVUE 2” Form must be submitted to the County on January 1st and July 1st of each year. Bergen County vendors should, therefore, determine whether they are required to submit a “REVUE 2” Form today.
The new forms implement Bergen County’s new pay-to-play ordinance. Although the new Ordinance (#13-06) was passed 6-1, the ordinance had to overcome a number of vetoes by the County Executive in order to become law.
The new ordinance contains reduced contribution limits of $300.00 per election cycle only for candidates for and holders of Bergen County-wide office (i.e., Freeholder, Sheriff, Clerk, Surrogate and County Executive). The new ordinance applies a $2,600.00 aggregate annual limit only to contributions to candidates for and holders of Bergen County-wide office . It is not clear, however, under the ordinance whether the aggregate limit applies to pre-effective date contributions covered under the previous version of the Bergen County pay-to-play ordinance.
Some have criticized the new ordinance for allowing contributions of up to $5,200.00 per calendar year to a Bergen County party committee (the old ordinance contained a limit of $300.00 per calendar year). But this criticism ignores that many vendors will choose to contribute no more than $300.00 per calendar year to a Bergen County party committee in order to preserve their legal eligibility for state government contracts.
Although the County is currently requiring vendors to submit these new forms, questions remain about the content of the required disclosures, which relate back to interpretation of the ordinance.