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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Backlash Erupts Against Victories in NM by Ethical Progressives and the Growing Power of Reform Groups

AlligatorOooh, oooh, that smell. Recent braying by the usual suspects about what is clearly constitutionally protected first amendment speech has erupted at both the conveniently anonymous Eye on Albuquerque (hi Whitney?) and the shifty alligator shack.

RedeyeWhat are they whining about? What's clearly bugging them is that factual mailings and ads about issues by certain nonpartisan, nonprofit groups are helping to gain support for progressive issues, and thus the ethical, progressive candidates who support them in New Mexico. Bad news for the crooks and wall-leaning lobbyists for special interests. Good news for the people.

We can't have that. It threatens the monied, elite forces who like to be in charge and who use disinformation, unattributed innuendo and dishonest spin in an attempt to stay there. Facts (and voting records) are the enemies of this bunch. They win if people are uninformed or misinformed. They benefit from keeping voters in the dark about what's really happening and who's benefiting.

We've Seen This Play Before
The two (or more) bloggers are blowing smoke with their accusations of illegal actions on the part of the nonprofits they're going after. The stir they're trying to create is similar to the thoroughly discredited efforts by forces within the GOP to convince people there's massive voter fraud going on. You remember the David Iglesias case, don't you? And how the U.S Attorney's office couldn't come up with a single prosecutable case of voter fraud in New Mexico? Such realities never stop the forces of distortion, however. We've seen it time and time again.

If their view of what is and what is not allowable under the law for such groups were to hold sway, a multitude of issue-based non-profits and so-called 527s here and around the nation would be deemed to be breaking the law, and doing it for many years. The laws governing such groups are detailed and specific. Generally, they cannot directly advocate for a specific candidate by name or coordinate their actions with campaigns. But such groups are definitely free to distribute anything they want about issues or document the voting records, positions and actions of any candidate on the issues being discussed. Period.

We Don't Want No Stinkin' Reform
The bloggers and those stealthy and unnamed "insiders" behind the recent attacks know this. But they are choosing to ignore reality so they can strike back against forces that are having success in promoting progressive issues and positions. They know that progressives and reformers often win when voters are informed on the issues.

Witness the victories of ethical reformers like Eric Griego, Eleanor Chavez and Tim Keller, who recently won state legislative primary races against lazy, compromised, long-time incumbents who had abandoned the needs of their districts in favor of furthering the agendas of special interests in the New Mexico Legislature. Rest assured that those wins rankled and scared the business-as-usual status-quo pushers. They don't like it when the people come before the lobbyists.

You can start giving the alligator shack and Eye on Albuquerque credibility on the ethics issue when they start being as up-at-arms about the filthy swiftboaters of the right, often funded almost entirely by incredibly wealthy rightwingers in Texas. Don't hold your breath.

Swampsters Have History of Snarling at Reform
Remember, the gator farm was the force behind that infamous "contest" that called for students to submit a "sensible plan" for ethics reform. At the time, the reptiles were claiming ethics reform bills were stalled in the New Mexico Legislature not because certain state reps and senators don't like the idea of oversight -- but because those lobbying for reform were ineffective in some way. For background, you can read my previous post about the reptilian attack on ethics and campaign reform and those who advocate it, and how that crude contest ploy played out in posts at New Mexico FBIHOP and m-pyre.

MoneyNow those fighting tooth and nail against giving up the quid-pro-quo gravy train are going a step further in hypocrisy -- suggesting that the reform groups fighting against corruption are themselves corrupt or compromised in some way. What's fueling this sturm und drang? Panic in the dark nooks and crannies of the power elites.

Pushing Gary King
What the pushers behind the blogger mouthpieces clearly are doing is attempting to pressure Attorney General Gary King to go after those fighting for ethics and campaign reform, improved health care and other important mainstream goals. Let's hope that King has his head on straight when he deals officially with the accusations of those who want to keep certain puppets in power. If he caves to the whining, I think he'll have some significant legal battles on his hands locally and nationally -- a real firestorm.

The rules governing nonprofits, 527s, etc. are pretty clear. My understanding is that unless there's blatant campaigning afoot that's directly pushing a certain candidate by name, or it can be proven that a group is coordinating its actions with a candidate, there's nothing illegal taking place.

Then again, the alligators, eyes on Albuquerque, special interest lobbyists and threatened legislative candidates aren't really concerned about the law. They're trying to raise a ruckus because the voting public is finally getting more access to the facts about voting records and how those who are supposed to represent them are instead at the beck and call of powerful, monied interests concerned primarily about their own bottom lines. Knowledge on the part of voters is considered a bad thing by the business-as-usual contingent -- so they're going after those who have the nerve to communicate the facts to the people. And trying to label that illegal. Shame, shame, shame. And transparent as hell.

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July 30, 2008 at 11:59 AM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Corporatism, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Progressivism | Permalink

Comments

Sure is rich to have the Rawson brigade, Monahan and the eye people wailing about ethics. This is self serving beyond the pale. Good for you taking them on-more need to do that.

Posted by: Psst | Jul 30, 2008 2:01:25 PM

We knew this was coming when honest candidates started to win against the old faithful. I sure hope King stands up to the bullies.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jul 30, 2008 3:07:13 PM

I have noticed New Mexicans (not all but most) really do not pay attention to what their legislators in the House and Senate do when they are in Santa Fe. It is nice to see that Taylor, Robinson and Silva are out. I think these 3 were confused and thought the "D" next to their name was just a pesky letter to win elections. Perhaps we need a legislator education project to inform some of our other (not all) Democrats in the House and Senate what this letter means.

Posted by: Rex | Jul 30, 2008 4:26:48 PM

The Attorney General King must come out and say out loud what the law is, it is as simple as that. The groups were doing what is within the realm of their legal rights. It is clearly a targeting of misbehavior that is not based in fact and reality. I am afraid that AG King may be one of the old guard and likes the status quo.

This issue should have been resolved shortly after it was raised as a non issue. I am tired of what Rex explains above - or in another way I have heard it - dino....dems in name only.

Please AG King bring this case to a close. If there is wrong doing spell it out. There are many many of these groups across the country.

Is NM now going to be the trailblazer on redefining the do's and don'ts???

Get with it time is a wasting. This dem wants this resolved by her Dem AG.

Posted by: Mary Ellen | Jul 30, 2008 5:43:40 PM

The old song and dance is not playing very well anymore. I have been knocking on doors lately, and people (apparently low-information voters) are nostalgic for Bill Clinton, because they know he left the economy in the black. They understand the link between the biggest big oil profits EVAH and the price they are paying at the pump. They "get" the deficit and the war in Iraq.

These desperate grabbers, who have not got it all just quite yet and hope they can fool us again long enough to steal all the remaining assets and resources of our declining democracy will leave the alligators in the bathtub, drowned with their ideology intact. Bless their hearts.

Posted by: bg | Jul 31, 2008 7:30:49 AM

Oh, and PS, in case anyone is interested. Karl Rove/527/McSame Advisor: Can you say illegal as heck?

http://firedoglake.com/2008/07/31/intersection-of-freedoms-watch-and-mccain-all-roads-lead-to-rove/

Posted by: bg | Jul 31, 2008 4:13:02 PM

On the subject of local Democrats staying true to the ideals they campaigned on. I read the post on Monahan that predicted Commissioner De La Cruz to caucus with the Republicans on the County Commission because of his close ties with the mayor. I think we should give him a chance to establish an identity independent of his association with the mayor. I have a feeling he may choose to be more progressive than we are giving him credit for. If not, it wouldn't be hard to make him a one term commissioner.

Posted by: Rex | Jul 31, 2008 5:11:59 PM

This Blog is Bogus... as a progressive i am constantly ashamed to read what bias Democracy for NM will be serving up. Anyone who is close to the action knows Eli Lee and NMYO are acting just like the corrupt incumbents we are trying to take out. Oversight is needed on all ends of the spectrum. Do i think that Eric Greigo was in on this during the primary? NO!I am still a happy he won. Keegan King and Eli Lee better watch out and keep Fischman's good name out of the mud. I don't think orange jump suits will go well with their complexion.

Posted by: | Jul 31, 2008 8:05:33 PM

Concern Troll strikes again! With alleged progressives like him/her(?), it's no wonder we've been stuck with "corrupt incumbents" for so long. The point is that the likes of Shannon Robinson and James Taylor became entrenched and flourished for all those years precisely because their misdeeds were obscured from public view. But today we have blogs like DFNM and FBIHOP. And we have the new breed of nonprofit ethics reform groups. Together they have been successful in getting the facts out about the legislature's record. The veil is being stripped away.

What we need in New Mexico is an independent ethics commission to provide across-the-board oversight. Oh but wait a minute! Isn't that exactly what Eli and Keegan and Common Cause and DFNM have all been advocating – and the very thing that your “corrupt incumbents” have been voting down?

Concern Troll, your anger is grossly misplaced. One Joe Monahan -- the lambe of the lobbyist class -- is quite enough, thank you very much.

Posted by: luis | Jul 31, 2008 10:40:29 PM

You are still missing the point Luis. The fact is that groups like Common Cause, etc. have been doing a fabulous job of pushing for reform, however it does sound very hypocritical that they do not lead by example. They should divulge their donors as well and the donations that they receive that they use for political activity should not qualify as tax deductible for said donors. That is a scheme that is no better than what Michael Montoya & Co. were up to. This post is very specific in that it concerns the rules to campaigning. Do not try to change the subject by simply pointing the finger somewhere else.

Posted by: | Aug 1, 2008 9:19:17 AM

Anonymous Troll:

You're right. I did miss your point because you didn't state it clearly. Now you sound like an apologist for Michael Montoya, the former State Treasurer who personally pocketed kickbacks from investment houses in return for state business. I readily admit that I fail to see the equivalence you claim exists between Montoya's thievery on the one hand, and on the other, the current disclosure requirements for non-profit organizations doing legal public interest educational work.

It sounds like you may be implying a serious charge here? Are you saying that Common Cause is not in compliance with the IRS disclosure requirements that currently apply to it? Or are you saying something else? Are you proposing that the state's Campaign Reporting Act should be changed and henceforth applied to the public education mission of non-profits like Common Cause and Planned Parenthood?

If the latter is what you mean, then you're creating one helluva of a slippery slope that would send the 1st Amendment straight into the pooper. And, using your line of reasoning, newspapers which also receive tax exemptions, should also come under the Campaign Reporting Act as well. Think of all of that investigative reporting on politicians and all of those scathing editorials. I imagine YOU could argue that such activity crosses the line into political campaigning. And some career politicians have argued exactly that. Ah yes! I remember now! That's what Shannon Robinson and Manny Aragon once proposed to do to the press. This is where your logic leads. I see where you're coming from now.

Posted by: luis | Aug 1, 2008 12:46:35 PM

I just wanted to let people know that the person who wrote "This Blog is Bogus" and the other comments above without signing with even an alias name is known to me from their ISP and other information. Trust me, it is not a progressive person at all. The same person has written insulting comments on other threads in the past. I could ban them but I think their comments should be seen for what they are.

Posted by: | Aug 1, 2008 3:00:44 PM

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