The House voted down a bill sought to modernize the Campaign Reporting Act. SB 42 sought to simplify campaign reporting compliance for some elected officials and to provide more sunshine on campaign finances. The bill failed on 33-36 vote. Legislators debate portions of the bill that would change the way loans to candidates from family members would be reported. There were questions about how the difference between a loan from a family member to help fix a home issue such as plumbing or roofing was different from a loan toward the candidates campaigning.
There was also discussion about the restricted times during legislative sessions when a legislator may receive a donation through the mail but not cash it until after the legislative session concluded.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed an update to the Campaign Finance Act. SB 42 seeks to simplify campaign reporting compliance for some elected officials and to provide more transparency on campaign finances. Amended to include HB 103, bill presenter and HB 103 co-sponsor Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, said SB 42 was previously a disclosure bill. The addition of HB 103 adds a modernization effort to align campaign finance reporting with the modern election process. “Senate Bill 42 requires out of state groups making independent expenditures of $5,000 or more to disclose the source of those funds.
One former state senator—who resigned this year after violating ethics laws—continued to spend money raised by his campaign committee according to his most recent campaign finance report. October 13 marked the latest deadline for political candidates to report any expenditures made from or donations made to their campaigns from April 7 to Oct. 5. According to the report filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State by former State Senator Phil Griego, his campaign spent $6,000 on constituent meetings, car repairs and rent for office space since Griego resigned amid controversy in March of this year during the legislative session. One watchdog who has pushed for stronger ethics laws in New Mexico says the spending is not allowed.
Susana Martinez will not return campaign donations from a man convicted of domestic abuse, a spokesman for the governor told the Albuquerque Journal earlier this week. Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, brought up the donations on Monday, days before the end of the legislative session. The news of Hiles’ domestic abuse and donation to Martinez was first revealed in New Mexico by New Mexico In Depth. Hiles also made significant donations to Advance New Mexico Now, a high profile PAC that helped Republicans take control of the House of Representatives. Hiles’ donations became an issue because the treasurer of Advance New Mexico Now PAC, Matthew Chandler, was in front of the Senate on confirmation to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents.