NJ Lobbyists Spent Record $73M in 2011: Report

Lobbyists in New Jersey spent a record $73 million last year, according to a report by the state's Election Law Enforcement Commission released this week.

The amount is an 11 percent spending increase over 2010, when lobbyists shelled out $66 million.

The commission attributes part of the overall rising costs of lobbying in the state to new media, and heavy advertising campaigns. ELEC also reports that 2011 is the fourth consecutive year marking a rise in lobbying costs in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Education Association, AFL-CIO and the non-profit group Americans for Prosperity were among the biggest spenders, with a large portion of their expenses going toward communications, mostly in the form of advertising on radio and television, according to the report.

NJEA, for example, spent $10.8 million of its total $11.3 million on communications. AFL-CIO and Americans for Prosperity spent $700,352 and $564,218 on communications, respectively.

In-house salaries and compensation were among the major costs for lobbyists, according the ELEC report.