Monday, February 28, 2011

We Weren't Really Serious About Those Campaign Contribution Limits, Were We?

A bill that the Attorney General's Office would "erode and undermine" the campaign contribution limits that went into effect after last year’s election is scheduled to be heard Tuesday by The House Voter & Elections Committee.

House Bill 605, sponsored by Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, would exempt political party caucus committees would from campaign contribution limits established in 2009 by the Legislature.

In a fiscal impact report for the bill, the Attorney General’s Office says the bill would create a loophole by allowing unlimited campaign contributions to be given by political party caucus committees. The AG also said the bill might be unconstitutional because it would favor incumbents.

Currently contributions for legislative races in the state are limited to $2,300 from individuals and $5,000 from political committees in primary elections and the same for general elections.

The bill is opposed by the Otero County Tea Party, which this afternoon sent out a news release about Tuesday's committee hearing and gave the bill a "Brown Recluse Spider" award for being a "poisonous proposal."

The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. in Room 317.

UPDATE: 10 :05 pm 

Rep. Stewart, in a Tweet directed at me after this was posted said, "you failed to mention my co-sponsor, Minority Leader Tom Taylor. Money is all going under ground. I'm asking bill be tabled."

Well, I didn't mention Taylor because his name doesn't appear on the bill. But she's right -- I should have made clear that the bill has bi-partisan support (and I suspect bi-partisan opposition.)

But the important thing is that she's going to ask for the bill to be tabled. So I suspect that HB605 as we know it is dead.