Don’t Roll Back the Clock on Campaign Finance Disclosure
The City Council is considering a measure to eliminate the reporting of expenditures of outside groups who spend big bucks to influence ballot referenda. The Rio Grande Foundation, one of those outside groups, has sued the city, and the council is immediately turning tail and running away. In doing so, they are swimming against the huge groundswell of public support for transparency that has been building for the past several years.
In a Common Cause Poll taken in Jan. 2017, and reported in the New Mexican, 91% of New Mexico voters supported requiring more disclosure from independent groups seeking to influence elections. Only those with something serious to hide want to buck those numbers.
Click here to get contact info for your city councilor, the City Attorney and the Mayor and tell them to side with the people, not the special interests. Then use the template letters below and send a letter to The New Mexican. It is very easy, just click here to get to the New Mexican page for submitting letters to the editor. Take any of the templates below and change them around just a bit. Then follow the prompts at the New Mexican submission page. The hearing on the bill is Dec. 13.
Are City Councilors Submitting to Legal Blackmail?
It’s a sad day when an elected body, which we thought was dedicated to good government, disclosure, and the right to know, immediately cries “uncle,” when a small group files a questionable lawsuit. But that’s what’s happening in the case of Councilor Carmichael’s bill to roll back campaign disclosure requirements for outside groups who spend to influence ballot measures like the recent soda tax, or the upcoming property tax increase. Some would call it legal blackmail.
Legal experts and even the city’s ethics commission call the case brought by the Rio Grande Foundation baseless. But the council is proceeding anyway and will hear the bill on Dec. 13. Voters ought to resist this attack on the right to know this information, which helps us decide who to vote for on a rational basis. Contact your city councilor and ask him or her to vote no.
Santa Fe City Council Bowing to Intimidation
In the age of Trump, intimidation is the coin of the realm. Now it has filtered down to the local level, with the Santa Fe City Council about to throw out one of the most progressive policies in the nation when it comes to requiring independent groups to disclose what they are spending on city ballot initiatives.
Why? Because they are being threatened with a lawsuit by a right wing group which has accepted funding from the Koch brothers. The City Ethics and Campaign Review Board says the lawsuit is baseless, but the councilors are running scared. They seem ready to throw out our right to know who is behind the big spending coming from outside our community.
Are we still in Santa Fe? Stand up for transparency and our right to cast an informed vote, councilors, or citizens will stand you down at the ballot box come March.
City Council Considers Hiding Information from Voters
Twelve years ago, our city enacted a voters right to know act, which requires public disclosure of funding by outside groups which support or oppose ballot measures. It’s through this bill that we found out who was supporting and opposing the beverage tax. Now we read that some councilors want to repeal the bill, and plunge us back into darkness—all at the behest of a right wing group.
I hope this is not the first step in a local war against facts and information we see at a national level. If so, we need to resist it. We need to know who is behind the advertising, mailing and spending on these local issues. Without it, we are voting blind. Tell your councilor that we have a right to know. Call, write, email and show up at City Council Dec. 13 to oppose this outrageous bill.
Fight vs. Transparency Now in Santa Fe City Council
During the soda tax election, $4 million in outside money was spent by both sides. We know this because we have strong disclosure laws. But the Santa Fe City Council now believes that the voters had no right to know who was spending the big bucks. A new bill introduced by Councilor Dominquez would roll back disclosure requirements for outside groups who spend in city elections.
Why would we do this? The Rio Grande Foundation is sewing the Council to roll back its disclosure law, and the Council seems ready to cave in. I read in your paper last January that over 80% of the public wanted a disclosure bill for independent groups passed during the legislative session.
The bill to rescind the disclosure bill will be heard Dec. 13 but the time to contact the Mayor and your City Councilor is now.