WASHINGTON – A Supreme Court ruling Wednesday eliminating overall campaign contribution limits for individuals drew fire from Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation who said the decision would diminish confidence in the American political process.
Meanwhile, the delegation’s lone Republican, Rep. Steve Pearce, voiced support for the decision.
Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said he hoped the ruling would revive interest in his proposed constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to regulate money in federal campaigns, including independent expenditures, and allow states to regulate such spending at the state level.
“Americans already believe the election system has been fundamentally corrupted by big money from corporate special interests,” Udall said. “Today, the court has confirmed their fears in its seriously misguided decision, which makes it legal for a few wealthy individuals to flood campaigns with cash, drowning out the voices of regular voters.”
Pearce said the Supreme Court decision reflected principles set out in the Constitution.
“The Supreme Court upheld our Constitution today,” Pearce said. “As has been pointed out by analysts, this decision does nothing to change the individual contribution limits. They are still in effect. I do not believe it will have an impact on individual races.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., called the decision “deeply flawed” and like Udall, said Congress should have authority to set “sensible limits on campaign contributions.”
“This deeply flawed Supreme Court decision continues down a path that equates money with speech and corporations with people,” Heinrich said. “Decisions like this one and Citizens United erode the integrity of our political process and the public’s faith in our leaders to do what’s right for the American people.”
Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said the ruling demonstrates a need for comprehensive campaign finance reform.
“Combined with the decision in Citizens United to allow unlimited spending by special interest groups and corporations, today’s ruling by the Supreme Court only serves to increase the opportunities for the richest in our country to have an outsized impact while drowning out the voices of the rest of the American people,” he said.
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., said the campaign contribution system needs limits and more disclosure.
“I am deeply disappointed that the court has struck down a key safeguard of our democratic system,” she said. “The court has long held that contribution limits are essential to guard against corruption and ensure that elected officials represent everyone – not just outside special interests.”