Gavel Grab

Judge Keeps New Mexico Public Financing Alive

A New Mexico judge ordered the secretary of state, Dianna Duran, to release public campaign money to a candidate for the Public Regulation Commission.

Judge Barbara Vigil issued the order on Thursday, according to a article. Duran had decided to withhold the funding after recent federal court hearings on litigation challenging the constitutionality of a matching funds provision in New Mexico’s public financing law.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down  a provision in Arizona’s public campaign financing law that furnished extra taxpayer dollars to participating candidates when privately funded foes or independent groups spent more. The Arizona provision that was struck down is similar to part of New Mexico’s law, according to the article.

An Alamagordo Daily News article said Judge Vigil’s ruling, in all likelihood, “will mean more public financing for a total of five other candidates for the PRC and state Court of Appeals.”

New Mexico adopted a public funding plan for judicial elections in 2007. It is one of four states that have adopted such plans. To learn more about public financing of judicial elections, and how it has come under attack, see the JAS issues page on the topic.

In other news about campaign finance issues:

  • The Illinois House approved a measure that would let a candidate ignore existing campaign contribution limits when a Super PAC makes a major donation to gubernatorial, legislative, judicial or municipal campaigns, according to a Southtown Star article.
  • Legal analyst Andrew Cohen, writing in The Atlantic about the John Edwards acquittal and mistrial, said they “mark an untidy end to an era in campaign-finance law prosecutions.” He added, “In the age of Citizens United, and Sheldon Adelson and the gang, jurors simply aren’t going to buy the idea of criminalizing this sort of conduct.”






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