New rule on political spending takes effect - Albuquerque Journal

New rule on political spending takes effect

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – A new rule aimed at requiring more disclosure of political spending took effect Tuesday, after months of sharp-edged debate about whether New Mexico should join 47 other states that already make independent expenditure groups that spend money on election-related advertisements report at least some information.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver rolled out the rule in June, just two months after Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed legislation that would have changed state law to require more disclosure.

The first-term Democratic secretary of state faced opposition from several national groups that argued the rules would curb free speech rights and could lead to individuals being harassed because of their political donations. Critics also suggested a lawsuit might be filed if the rules were implemented.

The Secretary of State’s Office made several changes to the rule after holding four public hearings over the summer, and Toulouse Oliver decided to forge ahead last month and has said she’s prepared to go to court to defend it.

“This new rule will bring much-needed guidance to New Mexico’s campaign finance reporting system and shine a light on some of the dark money plaguing political campaigns,” she said Tuesday. “New Mexico’s voters deserve to know who is spending money to influence their voting decisions, and this is a step in the right direction.”

The rules will require nonprofits and other groups active in New Mexico campaigns – but not coordinating with candidates – to disclose their significant donors if they spend more than $2,500 on any single political advertisement for a statewide race or more than $7,500 total in an election cycle. Those figures would be lower for races or ballot measures that are not statewide, including legislative races.

New Mexico already requires candidates and political committees to file reports disclosing the identities of all their donors, regardless of contribution size.

The rule, which is the first of its kind in New Mexico, has been touted by backers as bringing more transparency to state campaign spending laws, large parts of which have been struck down by courts.

However, opponents have launched well-funded attacks against the rule.

One Virginia-based group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is backed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, sent roughly 20,000 mailers to New Mexico residents and launched a digital ad blitz.

“The secretary has ignored the legislative process and hundreds of New Mexicans in her effort to force this flawed measure into law,” Dan Caldwell, the group’s policy director, said this week. “Requiring citizens to report their personal information to the government just for supporting a cause will limit the free speech rights of New Mexicans across the political spectrum.”

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s Office will post guidelines for complying with the new rule by the end of this week, a spokesman said Tuesday. Groups will then be able to report the newly required donor information on an already existing public database.

Before the new rule was adopted, New Mexico had been one of just three states – Indiana and South Carolina are the others – that did not require persons or groups to disclose independent expenditures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » New rule on political spending takes effect

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Editorial: APS calendar plan earns mixed grades
From the Editorial Board: More classroom ... From the Editorial Board: More classroom time and more teacher training make sense, but not if students only get four additional instructional days and ...
Editorial: Mayor’s right: Pay camera fines or wear a ...
From the Editorial Board: If chronic ... From the Editorial Board: If chronic speeders aren't getting the message to slow down through citations, then a boot should do it.
Young worker makes good money but zero benefits
ABQnews Seeker
Dear J.T. & Dale: My daughter ... Dear J.T. & Dale: My daughter graduated college in the pandemic. Because she couldn't go o ...
5 ways to help protect your health on your ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: Proper travel preparation can help ... OPINION: Proper travel preparation can help avoid health issues, promote well-being and protect against unexpected complications.
We need different approaches for folks who have entered ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: There's an immediate need to ... OPINION: There's an immediate need to support shelters for migrants.
Chamber leaders assess impact on businesses after legislative session
ABQnews Seeker
The Journal reached out to three ... The Journal reached out to three chamber leaders - New Mexico Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rob Black, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce ...
Albuquerque junk removal company expands into pressure washing
ABQnews Seeker
A year after quitting their desk ... A year after quitting their desk jobs to start a junk removal company, Nathan Farmer and Brian Battaglia have added pressure washing to the ...
Hamill: Tax administration is not the right venue for ...
ABQnews Seeker
COLUMN: We should expect that AI ... COLUMN: We should expect that AI tools have significant deficiencies in administering tax laws if their decisions are not human-reviewed.
FBI raid nets fentanyl, meth, guns and cash
ABQnews Seeker
An FBI raid of two Albuquerque ... An FBI raid of two Albuquerque area homes on Thursday led to the discovery of around 1 ...