NM Secretary of State Invites Comment on Her Draft Campaign Finance Rule

 

Dark money was behind Michael Sanchez being defeated in 2016, was a source of significant misinformation in the Soda Tax, and is a key strategy to advance a range of ALEC/KOCH-initiatives, something the SOS is seeking to at least disclose. 

We Need A Brand New Progressive Roundhouse

I promised for today, an in-depth review of the ABQ Santolina development. But it is a bit more complex than I had anticipated. It will come very soon. I promise.  But I wanted to do it justice. And besides, the Secretary of State’s proposed campaign finance rule is more timely as comment must be submitted by Wednesday. This is one small step toward retaking our democracy.

Retake is initiating a couple of strategies that take another approach to seizing the reins that govern us, most importantly an effort to build statewide power to influence the Roundhouse. We feel that a legislature controlled by the Democratic Party should be able to pass:

  • The Health Security Act,
  • Meaningful limits on predatory lending,
  • A bold and binding goal to achieve 100% renewable energy,
  • A sustained and increased investment in Pre-K and K-12,
  • A strong commitment to migrating our state and local economies from fossil fuels to sustainable, job producing industries like hemp, wind, solar, film and ecotourism.

In a series of conversations with Senator Wirth and Representative Egolf and in other conversations with lobbyists for progressive policy, all say that to be effective in advancing this kind of legislation you need to start a year or more in advance of a 60-day session and strategically build power in key districts. That is our strategy. If you want to come to our launch meeting, Tuesday, July 18, from 6-8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, please click here. While the Facebook event page shows virtually no one coming to this meeting, a core group has RSVP’d outside Facebook, so you won’t be alone, but you will be the beginning of a crucial Retake strategy. To read about that strategy, click here. Again, to RSVP on Facebook, click here. Or simply email us at volunteer4retake@gmail.com. This is a critical initiative, but to be successful we need 2 dozen folks willing to research legislation, reach out to other communities, and talk with lobbyists and legislators. Join us. We aren’t going to change a damn thing from our living rooms. You need to commit time, if you care about our future.

Lots of stuff coming besides the Roundhouse Activism meeting, the Activist Research Team is meeting to discuss local community development policy and gentrification and a week from Monday, a Open House Activism Party with Allegra Love from SF Dreamers. Click here for info on next weeks opportunities and events.

Secretary of State Proposes Rule to Force Disclosure of Sources of Dark Money

This rule will not get money out of politics, but it will at least tell us whose money is in the game.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver today released a draft campaign finance rule intended to provide much needed guidance regarding New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act (CRA). The final rule will ultimately help candidates, elected officials and political committees covered under the CRA comply with campaign finance disclosure and reporting requirements. Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver announced following the 2017 legislative session that she would utilize the rulemaking authority granted to her in New Mexico law to provide the necessary reforms before the next statewide election. Under the proposed changes, groups whose primary purpose is making contributions to candidates or making independent political expenditures would be required to register as political committees. Such “independent expenditure” groups — those that aren’t coordinating with a candidate or campaign — would have to report the names, addresses and other information about those who contribute $1,000 or more in an election cycle. Currently, these groups don’t have to report their contributors.

While challengers of the proposed rule suggest that it is unconstitutional, Viki Harrison, sees it differently: “Everything (the secretary of state) is proposing in these rules is absolutely constitutional,” said Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, a group that has pushed for enhanced disclosure laws. “We feel very confident that these rules can withstand any court challenges.”

Click here to review the draft rule. If you want to read about conservative opposition to the rule, click here.  As the report describes, this rule change would essentially make law what was proposed in a legislative bill that enjoyed broad bipartisan support but was vetoed by the Governor. But it is interesting how Conservatives from the Rio Grande Foundation and other conservative groups spin the rule.

Regardless of how you felt about the soda tax, the way in which outside ‘dark’ money inserts itself into state and local politics is undermining Democracy. Recall the last minute hit campaign on former Democratic Senate Leader Michael Sanchez that unseated a very good legislator with what was borderline slander. Click here for an ABQ Journal article on the hit pieces that unseated Sanchez. The Journal is not known as a bastion of progressive reporting, or even balanced reporting.

I encourage our supporters to make comment on the rule change by July 19, the deadline for such comment. Information below is provided. You can submit official comment by sending them to Kari Fresquez, State Elections Director:

  • By Mail – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule, Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State, 325 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501;
  • By Email – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule, sos.rules@state.nm.us; or,
  • By Fax – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule, (505) 827-8081.

The deadline to submit written comments by mail, email or fax has been extended to 5:00pm on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.  I’d suggest just stating simply that you are opposed to ‘dark money,’ especially those funds coming from outside the state and that with the disclosure rule proposed by the SOS, at least voters will know the funders of the hit pieces that come late in the campaign.

That’s it for today,

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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