Special interest groups have spent about $38 million in New Jersey this year to influence the elections for governor and legislature and voting on ballot issues.
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The state Election Law Enforcement Commission said Thursday that's more than double the previous record of nearly $15 million in independent spending recorded in the 2009 elections.
The biggest outside spender has been Garden State Forward, a special political action committee formed by the state's largest teacher's union, the New Jersey Education Association.
The super PAC has spent close to $12 million on the races for governor and Legislature. That accounts for about a third of all the outside spending on those contests.
Independent spending by interest groups cannot by law be coordinated with the candidates or the political parties.