Friday, May 17, 2013

NM Flunks on Reporting Independent Expenditures

The brown states are the ones that received Fs.
NM is actually worse than Texas here.
Yep, we're at the bottom of another list -- The Institute of Money in State Politics' recent survey of independent spending disclosure requirements.

True, 25 other states received F grades in this survey. But New Mexico was one of only six states that received "perfect" grades of zero in all categories.

What does this mean for the average voter? Basically there's no way of truly tracking how much money is being spent in elections and no way of knowing who is paying for all the attack ads and nasty campaign mailers you find in your mailbox.

"There oughtta be a law..." you might you say?  Well, that's the point.

For three legislative sessions Sen. Peter Wirth, D- Santa Fe carried a bill that would have required reporting independent expenditures -- including who had contributed to the independent groups.

The bill always passes the Senate with bipartisan support (unanimously the past two sessions) but gets bogged down in the House.

Wirth blames "very power special interests" from both sides of the political spectrum for killing the bill each year. As he told the Institute, "It’s bipartisan support in the open, and then behind the scenes it’s full-on bipartisan opposition.”

Here's the article by the Institute that quotes Wirth. And here's my story in today's New Mexican.