New Mexico GOP goes after campaign finance law
The Republican Party of New Mexico’s suit filing in federal court last Friday to challenge the state’s Limits Law, a campaign finance law passed in 2009, is poised for a fight. Some who previously supported the law are now joining to dismantle it.
“They’re wanting to go back to the good ol’ days,” said Rep. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), sponsor of the 2009 House version of the bill that passed on a 49-17 vote . “They want to go back to being able to funnel as much money as possible through the state’s Republican Party.”
The law restricts individuals or entities from donating more than $2,300 to a non-statewide candidate in an election or $5,000 to a statewide candidate, a political party or political action committee.
The suit was filed with the support of James Bopp Jr., an attorney who claims to specialize in free speech cases out of his Indiana-based law firm Bopp, Coleson and Bostromin Terre Haute, and with the James Madison Center for Free Speech. The plaintiffs have cited Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in their suit.
Sen. Rod Adair (R—Roswell), the sole dissenting vote in the Senate during the law’s passing, is also one of the plaintiffs in the suit. “As long as there’s transparency in the process, I don’t see the need for the limits law,” he said, adding, “I’m glad there are people on the center-right who are willing to take on these issues. That it’s not just the ACLU or the George Soros empire filing lawsuit after lawsuit.”
It’s those other people on the center-right who have Representative Steinborn worried. “New Mexicans need to decide who’s elected,” he said. “Not the Koch brothers [Charles and David, the billionaire brothers who have vehemently campaigned against President Obama and funded various right-wing groups and causes, as well as the Tea Party] or Karl Rove or these outside interests, like the ones who donated $400,000 to Governor Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign. Before the law went into effect.
“They can throw around a modest amount of money here comparatively and win elections,” added Steinborn. “It’s propping up candidates that we maybe wouldn’t support otherwise. And you have to look at the timing of this too: we’re coming up on a presidential election, and we could be a swing state. It’s exactly what we sought to shut down with our bill, and we really wanted to get the big money out of the races. It’s very bad for New Mexico. Very bad.”