Speak Out in Favor of Campaign Finance Transparency Regulations

Posted by Heather Ferguson and Viki Harrison on June 30, 2017


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Now is the time for all good citizens to weigh in on transparency regulations pending before the New Mexico Secretary of State! And we need your voices of support.

The regs will clarify campaign reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and give voters the right to know who is behind the huge independent expenditures expected in the 2018 elections.

Hearings will soon be held in Santa Fe (July 13), Albuquerque (July 18) and Las Cruces (July 19). We hope you will participate, and we'll remind you about upcoming hearings near you.

A coordinated effort, undertaken by a Koch brothers affiliate, is now pressuring the SoS to reject these needed rules. But we need them now. With the veto of the bipartisan-backed Senate Bill 96 in March, confusion reigns as the 2018 election approaches.

The bill was intended to address a number of court decisions that invalidated parts of New Mexico’s current law and left others standing. Candidates, political action committees and citizens themselves are in the dark as to which of the confusing, contradictory statutes will be enforced.

Common Cause New Mexico is asking citizens, partners, and everyone who believes in transparency to make known their support of the Secretary of State’s draft campaign finance rule on independent expenditures.

Sign the petition. Attend a hearing. Write an email comment or call the Secretary of State’s office today. For complete details on how to do it, see below.

What the New Regs Will Do?

The new regulations will clarify the reporting requirements for non-candidate PACs and other groups who sponsor political ads. The rule also defines “coordinated” expenditure and “independent” PAC to cover groups that have eluded reporting requirements by claiming they are non-political. Under the new regulation, if these groups have spent more than $1,000 on express advocacy or electioneering communications they are required to report their expenditures and the sources of money used to pay for them.

The rule aligns with recent and relevant case law such as NM Youth Organized v. Herrera, Republican Party of New Mexico v. King, and Citizens United v. FEC. The biggest beneficiary of the new regulations will be the public, which will be able to follow the money behind candidates and issues on the ballot. But both candidates and regular PACs, which already report, will also benefit from a more level playing field and clear requirements. 

Why Now?

The Secretary of State needs to act now to clarify reporting requirements in advance of 2018 elections. The 2017-2018 election cycle has already begun. Not only does the SoS bear the responsibility of running state elections, she is the principle enforcement agency (along with the AG) of campaign finance law.

Given that state law now conflicts with several court decisions, she ultimately must determine how much of the law has survived the court rulings and make rules stating precisely which statutory requirements will still be enforced and which will not.

What You Can Do:

Attend a hearing near you

Santa Fe - State Capitol Building, 491 Old Santa Fe Trail Room 321, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, on Thursday, July 13, 2017, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Albuquerque - Joint County Commission/City Council Vincent E. Griego Chambers of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center (Concourse Level 2), One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, NM  87102, on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Las Cruces - Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88007, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Write a Letter

Interested individuals may provide comments at the public hearing and/or submit written or electronic comments to Kari Fresquez, State Elections Director, via email at sos.rules@state.nm.us, fax (505) 827-8081, or mail to Attn: Kari Fresquez – proposed rule, Secretary of State, 325 Don Gaspar, Suite 300, Santa Fe, NM 87501.  

Written comments must be received no later than 5:00 pm on Tuesday, July 11. However, the submission of written comments as soon as possible is encouraged. Persons may also submit written comments at any of the public hearings.

Make a Call

Call the SoS office and leave a comment at 505-827-3600.

Sign the Petition

We appreciate your dedication to transparency in our democracy!

Office: Common Cause National, Common Cause New Mexico

Issues: Money in Politics, Money in Politics

Tags: Disclosure Laws, Disclosure, Empowering Small Donors

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