No, it really did finally happen – Disclosure Bill passes first committee 7-1

No, it really did finally happen – Disclosure Bill passes first committee 7-1

Common Cause New Mexico Disclosure Bill takes step toward passing the House

Today, CCNM priority bill HB 278 Campaign Finance Disclosure, Rep. James Smith – Albuquerque, passed the House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee by a vote of 7 to 1 (with the lone dissenter telling the committee he supported disclosure but had some concerns about the bill – and we will be trying to address them and get his vote on the floor). CCNM Executive Director Viki Harrison and CCNM State Governing Board Chair Jim Harrington, along with a representative from the Legislative Council Services served as Rep. Smith’s expert witnesses.

We have always said this bill will level the playing field – candidates, political parties and some PACs already report their spending – and this bill ensures all the independent spenders are also disclosing when they reach certain spending limits.

The bill requires public disclosure of information about the campaign spending of PACs and Independent groups to disclose contributions and expenditures as the candidates and political parties are already required. It also adds definitions that are critical to improve transparency in our elections.

In addition to a strong showing from the media, we had support in the audience from the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General’s office, the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and the League of Women Voters New Mexico. All are strong supporters of electoral disclosure and we appreciate the hard work they have done to help us all get to this perfect spot with a great bill.

Our next committee is the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs committee, which meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 AM – we hope to be in there early next week and will keep you posted!

One of the quotes we loved from yesterday – “The bottom line is that most people in the business community think that transparency and disclosure are a no-brainer”

So we weren’t the only ones who loved the polling released yesterday showing that businesses in New Mexico also support and want disclosure in elections, disclosure in lobbying and an ethics commission – the media ate it up too – here is a sample of the stories we have seen thus far: