February 25, 2023

Campaign reporting updates pass the Senate

The Senate approved a bill that seeks to simplify campaign reporting for some elected officials.

The Senate passed the bill, a committee substitute for SB 42, on a 26-10 vote Saturday afternoon.

“This bill continues the one thing that the United States Supreme Court has allowed us to do when it comes to regulating independent expenditures in our election cycle, and that is required disclosure,” bill sponsor Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, said. “In 2019, we passed a comprehensive bill that for the first time defined some key terms, coordination being perhaps the most important when it came to independent expenditures, and over the last four years, what we found is, you know, it’s one of these areas where you have to constantly be working. And so this bill does a couple things: It closes some of the loopholes that have been used since we passed the bill in 2019…The bill also has some kind of cleanup provisions in the campaign reporting act. And then the bill has a provision that I’m sure members may, members may want to talk about, and that deals with the prohibited period, and clarifying who can contribute during the prohibited period who cannot contribute and kind of defining those terms.”

The bill defines the prohibited period, during which elected officials cannot fundraise, to mean the January 1 prior to the regular legislative session and ending the first calendar day after the session’s adjournment and is for all state-level elected officials except for the governor or the lieutenant governor and for a campaign or legislative caucus committee.

For any incumbent or candidate for governor or lieutenant governor the period ends either the 21st day following session adjournment or the first calendar day after all bills are signed or vetoed.

“Now it clearly states that you cannot accept the contribution during the prohibited period from a lobbyist, lobbyist’s employer, incumbent or candidate, campaign committee or political committee,” Wirth said. “So if an individual sends us an unsolicited contribution— you can’t solicit  but if you get one— that’s not prohibited even during the prohibited period. That’s an important distinction.”

The bill now goes to the House.