Thursday, March 12, 2009

Senate approves campaign contribution limits

New Mexico would join most other states in the nation under a measure approved just now by the Senate.

Only Sen. Rod Adair,R-Roswell, voted against the bill, saying it didn't go far enough. Several supporters also said the bill doesn't do as much as it could to stop the influence of money in elections, but called it an important first step.

The limit boils down to $2,300 a calendar year from a person to a candidate.

It also imposes the following limits in a calendar year, starting in 2011:

From a person to a Political Action Committee: $5,000.
From a person to political party: $10,000.
From a PAC to a candidate: $5,000.
From a PAC to political party: $5,000.
From a political party to a candidate: $10,000.
From a political party to a PAC: $10.000.

Sen. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, applauded the move.

"To the extent that we can limit the money that goes into campaigns, we should seize every opportunity to do it, however imperfect that measure may be," she said.

Adair, however, said one of the flaws in the measure is that it waits too long to take effect.

"Don’t beat your chest about being ethics reform champions," he said in explaining his vote on the Senate floor. "You’ve had a chance to do the right thing over and over you took 2009 off and put 2011 on."

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