Secretary of State Maggie Tolouse Oliver has new rules to stop dark money in New Mexico – here’s how you can help

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Out-of-state special interests are trying to deny New Mexicans their right to know. But you can stop them!

“New Mexicans expect and deserve a modern, efficient twenty-first century campaign finance system, and with this rule I’m pushing to make that a reality,” said Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver.  “This rule will provide much needed clarity and guidance to help candidates, elected officials, and political committees comply with the law.”

See the full proposed rules here.

Thanks to our friends at Common Cause NM for this important message: 

The NM Secretary of State has proposed new regulations to shine a light on dark money, but a group backed by the Koch brothers is pouring money into our state to mislead citizens about the proposal. Stand up against big money and tell the SOS you support disclosure now!

Public comment will be accepted on Tuesday in Albuquerque at this public hearing:

Joint County Commission/City Council Vincent E. Griego Chambers of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center (Concourse Level 2), One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, NM  87102, on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. 

About the New Regs:

The proposed regulations will clarify campaign reporting requirements for political action committees (PACs) and give voters the right to know who is behind the huge independent expenditures expected in the 2018 elections.

With the veto of the bipartisan-backed Senate Bill 96 in March, confusion reigns as the 2018 election approaches.

The bill was intended to address a number of court decisions that invalidated parts of New Mexico’s current law and left others standing. Candidates, political action committees, and citizens themselves are in the dark as to which of the confusing, contradictory statutes will be enforced.

Common Cause New Mexico is asking citizens, partners, and everyone who believes in transparency to make known their support of the Secretary of State’s draft campaign finance rule on independent expenditures.


What the New Regs Will Do:

The new regulations will clarify the reporting requirements for non-candidate PACs and other groups who sponsor political ads. The rule also defines “coordinated” expenditure and “independent” PAC to cover groups that have eluded reporting requirements by claiming they are non-political.

Under the new regulation, if these groups have spent more than $1,000 on express advocacy or electioneering communications they are required to report their expenditures and the sources of money used to pay for them.

The rule aligns with recent and relevant case law such as NM Youth Organized v. Herrera, Republican Party of New Mexico v. King, and Citizens United v. FEC. The biggest beneficiary of the new regulations will be the public, which will be able to follow the money behind candidates and issues on the ballot. But both candidates and regular PACs, which already report, will also benefit from a more level playing field and clear requirements.


Why Now?

The Secretary of State needs to act now to clarify reporting requirements in advance of 2018 elections. The 2017-2018 election cycle has already begun. Not only does the SOS bear the responsibility of running state elections, she is the principle enforcement agency (along with the AG) of campaign finance law.

Given that state law now conflicts with several court decisions, she ultimately must determine how much of the law has survived the court rulings and make rules stating precisely which statutory requirements will still be enforced and which will not.


How to weigh in:

Attend in person:
Joint County Commission/City Council Vincent E. Griego Chambers of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Government Center (Concourse Level 2), One Civic Plaza NW, Albuquerque, NM  87102, on Tuesday, July 18, 2017, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Add your comments by mail or online:


Interested individuals may submit official comment by sending them to Kari Fresquez, State Elections Director:

•    By Mail – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule, Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State, 325 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM 87501;
•    By Email – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule,; or,
•    By Fax – Attn: Kari Fresquez–Proposed Rule, (505) 827-8081.

The deadline to submit written comments by mail, email or fax has been extended to 5:00pm on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.  Written comments may also be submitted in person at any of the three public hearings.

The final rule is expected to be completed this fall with an October 2017 effective date.