CD3 candidate criticized for support from ‘dark money groups’

Albuquerque Journal

by T.S. Last, Albuquerque Journal North Editor

Thursday, May 14, 11:25 p.m.SANTA FE, N.M. — What had been a rather civil Democratic Party primary campaign for the 3rd Congressional District flared up on Thursday when two candidates released statements criticizing another candidate, Teresa Leger Fernandez, for the support she’s receiving from so-called “dark money” groups.

Teresa Leger Fernandez

The statements were released following the taping of a candidate forum co-sponsored by the Albuquerque Journal that will air on KOAT-TV at 4 p.m. Sunday.

In a news release late Thursday afternoon, John Blair said that during the taping of the forum Leger Fernandez refused to denounce the dark money groups that are supporting her campaign. He called for Leger Fernandez to “demand the removal of ads from multiple dark money groups supporting her campaign.”

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DISCLAIMER: New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics (NMMOP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. As such, we work on issues that are nonpartisan on a cross-partisan basis with persons of all political affiliations and ideological perspectives to accomplish its goals. The intent of any reference to a political person or party made by us in this email is to call attention to the statement or action made by such person or party that pertains to one of or more of NMMOP’s goals, not to show favor or disfavor to such person or party. Statements made by other persons or sources reproduced here represent the perspective of the writers or publishers and not necessarily that of NMMOP.

‘Dark money’ groups back U.S. House candidate in packed primary

Santa Fe New Mexican

by Michael Gerstein

May 14, 2020 Updated May 14, 2020

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Teresa Leger Fernandez’s campaign has poured money into the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary race to run television and digital ads. In addition, two PACs have spent more than $300,000 on advertising in support of the Santa Fe attorney.

Candidates in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Party primary claim so-called dark money has entered the race after reports two groups together spent more than $300,000 on advertising in support of Teresa Leger Fernandez.

Perise Practical Inc. and Avacy Initiatives Inc. spent the money in support of Leger Fernandez, Politico Pro reported Thursday.

Federal Election Commission records and data from the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics show Avacy Initiatives Inc. spent $250,750 on ads in support of Leger Fernandez. Perise Practical Inc. spent $50,000. The groups’ FEC disclosure documents both list their post office boxes in Arlington, Va., and both were signed by the same individual, David Brett Krone

Dark money, or money spent by groups that do not disclose their donors, is common in politics. But many progressives have decried the influx of untraceable money because it’s often impossible to determine the individuals, groups or interests behind such spending.

In a written statement, Emma Caccamo, Leger Fernandez’s campaign manager, said: ”We’re proud to be running a New Mexico powered campaign, with contributions from all 16 counties in the district and no corporate PAC money. … We don’t know anything about any other groups and saw their ads when everybody else did.”

Leger Fernandez has been endorsed by a variety of groups, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and progressive EMILY’s List. On Thursday, she was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, an Albuquerque Democrat who represents the 1st Congressional District.

But three of her opponents in the seven-person Democratic primary race were quick to pounce on ad spending from groups that do not disclose their donors.

Former New Mexico Deputy Secretary of State John Blair’s campaign issued a statement denouncing the spending.

“Secret contributions from shady sources are simply unacceptable,” Blair said. “Dark money has corrupted our entire political system, and it’s the reason we haven’t been able to take on gun manufacturers, rein in pharmaceutical companies or pass a Green New Deal. Teresa must live up to the values of our party and demand those ads come down immediately.”

Michelle Barliant, a campaign staffer for candidate Valerie Plame, said in a telephone interview, “We stand with John that dark money doesn’t have any place in this race.”

Although Plame has raised the most money in the crowded Democratic primary, Barliant said no groups with undisclosed donors have spent money to support the former CIA agent.

Another candidate, Santa Fe-area District Attorney Marco Serna, also decried the spending and said he will be taking a “dark money out of politics pledge” he hopes every candidate, including Leger Fernandez, will sign.

Other Democratic primary candidates in the race include Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya of Rio Rancho, first-term state Rep. Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde and Taos environmental attorney Kyle Tisdel.

In an interview with The New Mexican, Serna said Leger Fernandez claimed during a KOAT-TV/Albuquerque Journal candidate forum airing Sunday the only out-of-state groups she knows that have spent money in her campaign were EMILY’s List and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ political action committee.

“I find it hard to believe that her campaign was not aware of the ads that have been running both on TV and on social media,” Serna said. “It’s disingenuous, and I echo Blair’s call to ask these PACs to stop running ads in New Mexico because it’s the right thing to do and here in New Mexico this isn’t how we run campaigns.”

The Leger Fernandez and Plame campaigns have poured money into the primary race to run television and digital ads. Blair and Serna also have spent on television ads to a lesser degree.

In December, The New Mexican reported pro-Donald Trump forces had already spent thousands in TV or digital ads either attacking U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small or backing the president.

Torres Small is running for reelection in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District in the southern part of the state. The race against the survivor of the Republican primary likely will be one of the most competitive U.S. House contests in the country, political experts have said. Torres Small narrowly won the seat in a district that turned out heavily for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Although some candidates pointed out the groups’ spending in support of Leger Fernandez, the 3rd Congressional District campaigns have stayed largely positive, said longtime Albuquerque-based pollster Brian Sanderoff.

That sets it apart from the race in the 2nd Congressional District, where the Yvette Harrell-Claire Chase battle has been increasingly bitter.

“The mood of the two races … are night and day,” Sanderoff said.

Four Republicans are running for the seat in the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary: Former Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, Santa Fe engineer Alexis Johnson, Navajo Nation member Karen Bedonie and Angela Gale Morales of Rio Rancho, who is a write-in candidate.

DISCLAIMER: New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics (NMMOP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. As such, we work on issues that are nonpartisan on a cross-partisan basis with persons of all political affiliations and ideological perspectives to accomplish its goals. The intent of any reference to a political person or party made by us in this email is to call attention to the statement or action made by such person or party that pertains to one of or more of NMMOP’s goals, not to show favor or disfavor to such person or party. Statements made by other persons or sources reproduced here represent the perspective of the writers or publishers and not necessarily that of NMMOP.

 

Over 120 Groups Call on Congress to Back Constitutional Amendment Overturning Citizens United

EDITOR”S NOTE: New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics is proud to have been one of the over 120 organizations that participated in yesterday’s National Call in Day to support the Democracy for All Amendment.  THANKS to all of you who helped by calling your MOCs in response to our request.  You make a difference!  Read the article below: it’s about YOU!

Published on Thursday, September 05, 2019 by Common Dreams

Over 120 Groups Call on Congress to Back Constitutional Amendment Overturning Citizens United

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

“America needs to be responsive to the people, not to corporations and special interests, or it is no longer a democratic republic.”

Danielle Greene and Jennifer Vassil attend a rally calling for an end to corporate money in politics and to mark the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, at Lafayette Square near the White House. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

More than 120 organizations on Thursday urged members of the U.S. House to support a constitutional amendment that aims to reverse the damage done to American democracy by Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that effectively enabled corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence political elections.

Major civil rights, environmental, labor, LGBTQ, and good government groups sent a letter (pdf) to lawmakers, which coincided with a national call-in day for constituents to pressure their representatives in Congress support the measure.

The letter to House members says, “We are writing to urge you to cosponsor H.J.Res. 2, the bipartisan Democracy For All Amendment, which would restore the authority of Congress and the states to set commonsense rules for the raising and spending of money on elections to advance political equality for all Americans.”

Constitutional amendments should only be pursued “in the rarest of circumstances,” the letter continues—but the high court’s widely opposed 2010 ruling in Citizens Unitedand related moves “have pushed America to a tipping point in which big-moneyed interests exert control over all levers of government.”

“If the wealthy individuals and concentrations of capital can drown out the voices of ordinary Americans in elections, we cease to be a representative democracy,” declares the letter. “America needs to be responsive to the people, not to corporations and special interests, or it is no longer a democratic republic.”

Highlighting the significant public opposition to the Citizens United decision, supporters of the letter promoted the call-in campaign on social media with the hashtags #CitizensUnited#28thAmendment, and #DemocracyForAll:

Introduced in January by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the amendment is co-sponsored by 138 other members of the House. All but one, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), are Democrats. The measure was introduced in the upper chamber by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in July and is backed by the other 46 senators who caucus with the Democrats.

“Thanks to Citizens United and other disastrous court decisions, our electoral system—and as a result, our democracy—have reached a crisis point,” Udall said in July. “Ever since the Supreme Court ruled to open the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending in our elections, secret special interest money has poured in—and drowned out the voices of the American people.”

“Now, citizens are losing faith in our institutions because they have every reason to believe that their government no longer answers to them,” he added. “It’s time to restore the power of the American people to regulate the out-of-control, secret spending in our elections, and make sure that our elections aren’t put up for sale to the highest bidder.”

 

U.S. Senate Candidate (and current NM SOS) Toulouse Oliver signs American Promise Pledge

 

(Sitting, Maggie Toulouse Oliver;  standing left to right are NMMOP’s Bruce Berlin, Charlotte Schaaf, David Burling, John House and Ishwari Sollohub)

On Friday, August 31, 2019, candidate for the U.S. Senate and current New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver signed the American Promise Candidate and Elected Official Pledge.   Sponsored by New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics and its national partner, American Promise,  the pledge seeksCongress to adopt  an amendment that would 1) secure fair, free elections by limiting the undue influence of money in politics; 2) protect the rights of all Americans to equal participation and representation, rather than overrepresentation of donors and special interests; and 3) protect the unalienable liberty of people rather than new privileges for the largest corporations, unions, and special interests. The pledge confirms the signor’s commitment and dedication to  use her office to advance this 28th Amendment in any and all legal ways, including, but not limited to: sponsoring or cosponsoring bills, resolutions, or other legislation advancing proposal or ratification of the 28th Amendment; voting in favor of such bills and resolutions in committee, subcommittee, or floor votes; working to build cross-partisan support; and publicly advocating for the necessity of this Amendment.

“I’ve signed the The American Promise Pledge marking my commitment to keep special interest money out of politics.  As a candidate who is refusing corporate PAC money, I affirm my pledge and hope that others will also vow to prioritize the needs of citizens over corporations.”
– Maggie Toulouse Oliver

For more information about the pledge and how you can help the effort to pass the 28thAmendment, please go to  28thAmendment or contact New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics at 505-231-1697.