Amending the Albuquerque Campaign Finance Reporting Law

Amending the Albuquerque Campaign Finance Reporting Law

Common Cause New Mexico is proposing amendments to the Albuquerque Campaign Finance Reporting Law to bring it into compliance with recent court rulings

As part of Common Cause New Mexico’s municipal campaign, we are proposing to amend Article XIII of the Albuquerque City Charter, The Campaign Finance Reporting Law, to conform to recent court rulings that invalidated the current system for reporting campaign spending by non-candidates, such as PACs.

The current law provides that anyone who spends over $250 to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure must register as a measure finance committee and report all the income they receive and expenditures they make in any place for any purpose.

The courts have held this provision unreasonable and unconstitutional as applied to either of the following:

  • National organizations that operate in many cities and states
  • Any group whose campaign spending accounts for only a small part of its overall activities

The proposed amendment would correct these problems and comply with these rulings by:

  • Requiring non-candidates to report all their income and expenditures only when the “primary purpose” of the organization is to support or oppose Albuquerque candidates or ballot measures.
  • For all other groups, establishing narrower reporting requirements, of a kind previously sustained by the Supreme Court, that would cover only the amounts they spend in Albuquerque elections and the sources of the funds they used to finance that spending.

You can help and take a stand for disclosure and accountability in Albuquerque elections by attending this Thursday’s meeting of the City Charter Task Force.  The meeting is at 5 p.m. on the ninth floor of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center in Civic Plaza.  Visit our event page for more details.