Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NM Delegation Reacts to McCutcheon Decision

Both U.S. senators from New Mexico as well as U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-Santa Fe have sent out statements deploring the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission.

The ruling struck down the aggregate limits for political contributors to candidates for federal office and political party committees donating to candidates for Congress or president. Prior to the ruling someone could only contribute up to $123,000 total during an election cycle.

It should be noted that the decision did not do away with the limits for contributions to individual candidates. And, it does not apply to state elections, although Viki Harrison with New Mexico Common Cause said in a statement, “This decision lays out a welcome mat for corruption here in New Mexico and across the country.”

In general, Democrats and groups that keep tabs on money in politics have denounced the decision while Republicans have applauded it. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that the decision is "an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse."

Here's what New Mexico Democratic representatives said:

Sen. Tom Udall
“Americans already believe the election system has been fundamentally corrupted by big money from corporate special interests. And today, the Court has confirmed their fears in its seriously misguided decision, which makes it legal for a few wealthy individuals to flood campaigns with cash, drowning out the voices of regular voters.

“The Court’s ruling returns the campaign finance system to Watergate-era rules – the same rules that fostered corruption, outraged voters and prompted campaign finance regulations in the first place. There has to be accountability. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks. It's time to put elections back in the hands of American voters, and not with a tiny number of extremely wealthy people and special interests.

“McCutcheon should be the breaking point that forces Washington to permanently reform the campaign finance system. And today, I am again calling on the Senate to support my constitutional amendment, which would enable Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges and ensures all voters continue to have a voice in our democracy.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich

"This deeply flawed Supreme Court decision continues down a path that equates money with speech and corporations with people.

"Make no mistake; decisions like this one and Citizens United erode the integrity of our political process and the public's faith in our leaders to do what's right for the American people.

"I will continue to fight to reform our campaign finance laws and to amend the Constitution to make clear that Congress can set sensible limits on campaign contributions."

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan

“Once again the Supreme Court has struck a blow to our efforts to get money out of politics, and reinforces the importance of passing comprehensive reform that limits the ability of individuals, special interest groups, and corporations to spend endless amounts of money in an effort to unduly influence elections.

“Combined with the decision in Citizens United to allow unlimited spending by special interest groups and corporations, today’s ruling by the Supreme Court only serves to increase the opportunities for the richest in our country to have an outsized impact while drowning out the voices of the rest of the American people.

“I have cosponsored the DISCLOSE Act, legislation which increases transparency so that corporations and interest groups cannot hide their donors, a Constitutional amendment to overturn the decision in Citizens United, and legislation to provide public financing of Congressional elections.  I will continue my efforts to restore accountability and transparency while removing the flood of money in the electoral process.”