Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another List With NM Near the Bottom: Campaign Finance Transparency Laws

In today's New Mexican I wrote about a report by The Brennan Center for Justice about how many states -- incluidng this Enchanted Land -- are way behind the times in campaign finance disclosure laws.

"Your disclosure laws have not kept pace with the way modern campaigns are run," Ciara Torres-Spelliscy told me when I talked to her yesterday.

She's referring mainly to "independent expenditures" -- in which giant corporations or unions pour millions into groups with happy-sounding names "Citizens For All Things Good" that, in turn, buy ads saying whatever candidate they oppose  wants to destroy the economy and let bloodthirsty criminals run wild in your children's playgrounds.

Both Torres-Spelliscy and Steve Allen of New Mexico Common Cause told me that independent expenditures have not yet been a major factor in state elections in New Mexico. (We have seen some of that action in Congressional races here, but mostly by well-known, established groups like Club For Growth and Defenders of Wildlife)

But it usually takes New Mexico a little longer to catch up to national trends. Torres-Spelliscy says the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision last year, which prohibits limits on this kind of spending, almost certainly will accelerate that.

Here's a copy of that Brennan Center report

Transparent Elections after Citizens United