Friday, June 01, 2012
Release the Public's Funds Pronto! by Lora Lucero
Following post is by contributing writer Lora Lucero.
As many have heard, PRC candidate Cynthia B. Hall won a writ of mandamus Thursday evening.
The court ordered the Secretary of State to release the matching funds required by state law if a privately-financed opponent outspends a publicly-financed candidate. In Hall's case, Al Park is privately financing his bid for the PRC to the tune of 4:1 over Hall's publicly-financed campaign.
Although the writ of mandamus technically only applies to Cynthia Hall's campaign, I called the Secretary of State this morning and urged her to release the matching funds to ALL publicly-financed candidates. PRONTO!
The Secretary of State's toll free number is 1-800-477-3632.
I hope everyone who wants to see money out of politics will do the same.
The following is the press release issued from Cynthia Hall's campaign:
Chief Judge Barbara Vigil Orders NM Secretary of State to Follow the Law
Albuquerque, NM – May 31, 2012
This afternoon, Presiding Judge Barbara Vigil ordered NM Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran to follow the law and release matching funds to Cynthia B Hall, publicly-funded Democratic candidate for the PRC in District 1.
The Secretary of State, contrary to the mandate of New Mexico's Voter Action Act, had withheld matching funds from Hall and other publicly-funded candidates for several weeks.
Last week, in response to the Secretary’s refusal to release the funds, Hall filed a Temporary Restraining Order and Amended Petition for Writ of Mandamus.
Judge Vigil signed the Writ of Mandamus filed by Hall and ordered the Secretary of State to comply forthwith. The Judge also instructed Hall to file a new Writ of Mandamus tomorrow if the Secretary of State continues to withhold the funds. The Secretary of State’s office said they would notify Hall if they decide not to follow the Judge’s orders.
The Secretary of State still faces a federal matching funds lawsuit. In the last few days the Republican Party of New Mexico, the New Mexicans for Economic Recovery PAC, and PRC Candidate Al Park teamed up in federal court. They sought to prohibit the Secretary of State from releasing the matching funds. These Plaintiffs, along with Intervenor Al Park, cited Citizens United in their assertion that the release of matching funds would infringe upon the free speech rights of private and corporate donors.
During today’s hearing, the judge did not allow Al Park or any other candidates to intervene in the lawsuit.
This represents a victory for the Hall campaign as well as for other publicly financed candidates in the state, such as Karen Montoya and Judge Victor Lopez of Albuquerque.
For the moment, the matching funds provision of New Mexico’s Public Financing Law has been upheld. This could also mean protection for matching funds as provided for in Municipal elections in places like Albuquerque.