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HB 278: CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE

An Act Relating To Campaign Finance; Requiring Reporting Of Independent Expenditures And Covered Transfers; Redefining "political Committee"; Defining "advertisement", "ballot Measure", "campaign Expenditure", "coordinated Expenditure", "independent Expenditure" And Other Terms; Adjusting Contribution And Expenditure Reporting Requirements, Limits And Thresholds; Changing Penalties; Providing Penalties; Amending, Repealing And Enacting Sections Of The Nmsa 1978.

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MILD HB 278
CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE

Legislative URL:
HB 278 on nmlegis.gov
Emergency Clause:
No
Germane:
N/A
Location:
HJC
Action:
[5] HSCAC/HGEIC/HJC-HSCAC [27] DNP-CS/DP-HGEIC [33] DP-HJC API.
Issue(s):

Companion Bills

Bills:
CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

Downloads:
Introduced
HSCAC Committee Report
HSCAC Committee Substitute
HGEIC Committee Report
Fiscal Impact Report

Related Events

Upcoming:
Summary

This bill requires reporting of independent expenditures and covered transfers in excess of $1,000.

  • “Independent expenditures” are expenditures made by a person other than a candidate or campaign committee to pay for an advertisement that advocates the election or defeat of a candidate or the passage or defeat of a ballot measure.
  • “Covered transfers” are payments for independent expenditures, coordinated expenditures or contributions to one or more candidates, campaign committees or political committees, or for making a transfer to another person for the purpose of making or paying for such independent expenditures or contributions.

Independent expenditures and covered transfers shall be reported electronically using software provided or approved by the Secretary of State.

 

The bill requires authorization and funding source disclosures for political advertisements costing more than $3,000. And it broadly defines “advertisement” to include a communication referring to a candidate, ballot measure or election that is published, disseminated, distributed or displayed to the public by print, broadcast, satellite, cable or electronic media, including recorded phone messages, or by printed materials, including mailers, handbills, signs and billboards, and that can reasonably be expected to be seen or heard by at least five hundred persons.

 

The bill also defines, or redefines, a variety of other terms, including “coordinated expenditure,” “political committee” and “political party.”

 

It increases the civil penalties for violations of the Campaign Reporting Act to as much as $1,000 for each violation not to exceed a total of $20,000. And it clarifies that a referral from the Secretary of State is not required in order for the attorney general or district attorney to institute a civil action in district court.

 

A possible benefit this bill might be increased disclosure of various forms of campaign contributions and the potential for more rigorous enforcement of the Campaign Reporting Act.

 

The House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee Substitute for House Bill 278 makes numerous clarifying and language cleanup changes to the original, while keeping most of the bill’s substance intact. Substantive changes in the substitute include:

  • removal of all provisions defining and requiring the reporting of covered transfers;
  • removal of a provision in the original requiring identification of the top three funders of advertisements paid for by independent expenditure;
  • removal of material giving examples of coordination of expenditures;
  • defining “advertisement” in part as a communication for which an expenditure of at least $50.00 is made, instead of one which could be expected to be seen or heard by at least 500 people;
  • raising from $2,300 to $5,000 the maximum a person may contribute to a candidate for a non-statewide office in a primary or general election;
  • requiring the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General, to adopt rules to implement the amendatory provisions of the act by December 31, 2015; and
  • repealing Sections 1-19-16 and 1-19-17 NMSA 1978 (prohibiting printing or publishing campaign material and circulation of campaign material without specifying a sponsor).

 

Possible concerns regarding the HSCAC Substitute include a number of changes that weaken the bill’s provisions and take an opposite tack by removing some existing controls.

 

Note: The original HB 278 was a companion to SB 384.