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Overview

Just as corporate lobbying corrupts the legislative process, the scramble for government contracts corrupts the executive branch and its agencies.  Ohio has seen multiple pay-to-play scandals in recent years where campaign contributors illicitly received unbid special counsel work from the attorney general's office, no-bid contracts from the secretary of state's office, and control of workers’ compensation investments in the notorious Coingate scandal.  Similar scandals have enveloped public officials in New York, California, South Carolina, Illinois and other states across the country.

A number of states have taken action to assure greater accountability in the public contracting system through common-sense solutions:

Campaign Contributions by Contractors:  Seven states currently have some form of pay-to-play contracting law to bar companies bidding on contracts from making campaign contributions to government officials, and in 2005, New Jersey passed the nation’s most far-reaching pay-to-play law in the wake of local contracting scandals.

Tightening Contracting Standards:  The tighter the standards for the bidding processes and the work done, the less likely incompetent or corrupt companies can buy contracts with campaign contributions.   

Public Citizen — Pay to Play and State Governments
Public Citizen — State Pay to Play Laws
AFSCME — Legislative Approaches to Responsible Contracting
New Jersey Pay to Play Law