Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Banning Political Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists and Government Contractors

Think New Mexico,, a multipartisan think tank based in Santa Fe, has just released a report on the influence of private money on our government. The report highlights historic and current scandals involving government contractors and those who lobby for them. Much has been in the news lately about “pay to play” politics, from the very top of state government to municipal and school board administrations, and the Think New Mexico report offers an effective solution to this abuse of tax payer monies.

Think New Mexico has correctly identified the mood of the electorate. In recent years, the legislature has enacted a gift ban and public campaign financing mechanisms for certain state offices. In addition, several municipalities have enacted campaign contribution limits and their own public campaign financing systems, all designed to limit the influence of private money on public decisions. Other areas of the country are also clamping down on rampant campaign spending by special interests, such as Humboldt California's complete ban on campaign donations by non-local corporate entities, commonly referred to as Measure T

The New Mexico legislation, which has yet to be written, would ban campaign donations by anyone receiving government contracts or subsidies, as well as all registered lobbyists. The legislation would include all state, county and municipal elections. It is clearly a step towards restoring citizen confidence in our governments, and Voting Matters will be supporting and reporting on this issue as it moves forward.

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