Campaign finance disclosure bill OK’d in House committee

A measure seeking to increase the disclosure requirements on independent expenditure groups in New Mexico political campaigns cleared its first House committee today.

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee voted 7-1 today to approve the measure, which is sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, and Sen. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.

The bill, HB 278, is in reaction to a landmark 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling commonly known as Citizen’s United. That ruling led to certain independent expenditure groups, including so-called super PACs, being allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections.

Susan Boe, the executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, said the legislation would help reduce the influence of money in politics.

“It will shine a light on dark money and reveal secret donors,” she said during today’s committee hearing.

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Rep. Ricky Little, R-Chaparral, cast the lone “no” vote in the House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee.

The bill now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee. A similar Senate bill has been introduced but not yet acted upon in this year’s 60-day legislative session.

Journal UpFront columnist Thom Cole wrote more about the issue earlier this year. You can check out his column here.

 

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