Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), America’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political speech rights, released the following statement commending New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for her veto of S.B. 96:
“Governor Martinez sided with the First Amendment by vetoing this poorly written bill,” explained CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith. “The purpose of disclosure laws is to allow people to monitor their government, not the other way around. If this complex bill would have become law, only groups that could afford lawyers could safely speak out about elected officials. We should make it easy for groups of all sizes to exercise their free speech rights.”
If enacted, S.B. 96 would have amended New Mexico’s campaign finance laws to create new reporting requirements for individuals and organizations that publish information simply mentioning the name of a candidate. That change would have:
- Added new and burdensome reporting requirements for small advocacy organizations
- Caused some charities to be regulated as political groups
- Created junk disclosure, misleading the public about the source of funds for certain communications
- Provided less informative disclosure to the public
- Facilitated harassment by forcing groups to report the private information of their supporters to the government
- Criminalized ordinary acts of civic engagement
- Led to costly litigation on constitutional issues
Last month, CCP wrote to Governor Martinez outlining multiple significant constitutional and practical problems with S.B. 96.
Smith also penned an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal highlighting the specific dangers the bill posed for charitable organizations.