Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill on Monday that aims to make it easier for New Mexicans to track money flowing through the state’s political system.
House Bill 105 requires that candidate, lobbyist and political actions committee finance reports be filed electronically. It requires upgrades to the state’s campaign finance reporting system to make it easier for the public to search and cross-check contributions. And it sets more uniform reporting standards.
“I’m proud to sign this bill into law because it will provide much-needed improvements to our campaign finance reporting system,” Martinez said in a news release. “Establishing uniform standards for electronic reporting will make our system more accurate and transparent, and allow for more New Mexicans to more easily access this information.”
The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, and Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque.
The push for reform of the state’s campaign finance reporting system was sparked by last year’s criminal case against then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who pleaded guilty to two felonies related to abusing the system and resigned. Duran was essentially stealing money from her campaign accounts to feed a gambling addiction.
Revelations last year that several state lawmakers’ finance reports had problems increased pressure on the Legislature to approve reform. For example, Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, failed to report thousands of dollars in contributions that were publicly listed as donations to his campaign on reports filed by lobbyists and political committees — thus the push to be able to cross-reference candidates’ reports with those filed by lobbyists and PACs.