Common Cause Report: New Mexico PACs: Growth, Influence, and Shifting Interests

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For Immediate Release        Common Cause                                             

January 21, 2014                                                         


New Mexico PACs: Growth, Influence, and Shifting Interests

Albuquerque—On the heels of releasing new polling on money in politics in New Mexico, Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) today releases our latest research that tracks and analyzes Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions and spending in New Mexico from 2005 to 2012. Our research shows a dramatic increase in spending from out-of-state PACs, a shift away from party-centric PACs, and layers upon layers of concealed funders through PAC-to-PAC contributions.


The report and reforms recommended can be found here, and you can see the data we used here. The raw data was provided by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s (SoS) Office.


“As you will see in the accompanying infographic, New Mexico PACs: Growth, Influence, and Shifting Interests, contributions to and spending by PACs has nearly doubled since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” says CCNM’s executive director Viki Harrison.


Some additional key findings from our analysis include:


·         Between 2005 and 2012 New Mexico PACs spent almost $45 million on political campaigns

·         A shift from party dominated PACs to ideological PACs over the years analyzed

·         About 70-80% of contributions to New Mexico PACs were from companies or other PACs

·         PACs donating to other PACs, effectively concealing the true entities making contributions

·         Between 2005 and 2012 total contributions from outside New Mexico have nearly doubled

·         PACs spending the most in New Mexico politics are primarily funded by organizations outside the state, mostly from Washington D.C.


“While we certainly support citizens being able to publicly express support for their favorite candidates, voters deserve to who funds the numerous TV ads aired each election year, the postcards that flood our mailboxes and the hundreds of radio ads that run for candidates and issues,” Harrison continues.


CCNM believes that requiring full disclosure of money spent in politics will help return voter trust to government and increase participation in our democratic process. The reforms we propose are detailed in the report and include passing a meaningful disclosure law; using uniform language on PAC reports; improving the SoS website usability; and increased SoS website audits.


Harrison adds that this is just the beginning for more frequent research from CCNM, saying “We are delighted to have Alan Edmonds and Vikram Patel join Jarrett Hines-Kay as part of our research team, and have already started our next project that analyzes spending in several New Mexico municipal races.”


Common Cause New Mexico is dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.