Monday, September 29, 2008

(Updated) Bailout Vote Fails in House

Here we go, and where we stop, nobody knows.


Final Vote: 205 Ayes, 228 Noes

Heather Wilson votes aye; Tom Udall and Steve Pearce no. Democrats: 140 ayes, 95 noes. Republicans: 65 ayes, 133 noes.

I caught a nasty cold/flu this weekend and I'm nursing it today so I got on the couch, got me some tea and watched the chaos descend on the TV pundits (in between naps). Largest point drop ever in Dow, by 777. Rs blaming Pelosi for giving a "partisan" speech today and upsetting Rs who then voted no. Spare me. McCain looks like an idiot given his bragging about getting the Rs in line for this. Obama says, "get it done."

I say, let's take some time and do something meaningful that will move capital from the bottom up rather than following the defrocked theory of top down, tickle down. However, I have a strong feeling that no matter what we do or don't do now, we'll end up in the same place -- economically destroyed for years to come.

This is a situation conceived in Reaganomics that has continued in fits and starts to this place of no return. The bottom line: if a nation doesn't make and sell anything of value, there is no real value in its so-called assets. They're just paper, and their value is subject to whims, fakery and fraud. Especially when appointed regulators are into looking the other way on even basic oversight, and most meaningful regulations have been watered down or removed completely. We're seeing the myth of the magic hand of the market completely unmasked for what it really is without proper regulation -- unbridled greed and thievery.

September 29, 2008 at 12:03 PM in Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Government | Permalink | Comments (4)

Bailout Can Still Be Defeated: Call or Email Now

It's still up in the air whether the bailout bill has the votes to pass. I'm sure most of you reading this have seen and heard many convincing arguments against this fraudulent giveaway. Here are some more by David Sirota that provide useful summaries you can tap when contacting your members of Congress. It's not often we can see ourselves on the same side as the rightwing Republicans, but this is one of those times, isn't it?

Joshua Holland at Alternet provides a glimpse of what a progressive bailout would look like. Why aren't more Dems pushing for this kind of solution? They're certainly feeling pressured by Wall Street's clever extortion plot, but let's hope enough of them see through this ploy and vote for the interests of their constituents. We have to apply some pressure in the opposite direction if there's any hope for defeating this boondoggle. makes it easy to email the people who count on this. Or click here to find phone numbers and other contact info for New Mexico's Congressional delegation.

September 29, 2008 at 09:31 AM in Business, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Government | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let's Play "Wall Street Bailout" (Not)

Must See: The truly Democratic and democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio speaks truth to power on the absurd bailout bill, and suggests a better plan.

Note that the Sunlight Foundation has counted so far this year sponsored by the financial services sector for (or featuring) lawmakers considering the bailout bill. Gee, I wonder why that is.

Go to to express yourself via email. You can also call our Congressional delegation:

Domenici's office: 505 346-6791
Bingaman's office: 505 346-6601
Wilson's office: 505 346-6781
Udall's office: (505) 984-8950
Pearce's office: (505) 522-2219

Oh, and have you seen this one yet? Yes, it's a spoof but, sadly, it's so close to reality it hurts:

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had a crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transacting is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Ministry of Treasury Paulson

(h/t to Terry Riley and TH)

September 25, 2008 at 12:43 PM in Business, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Government, Public Policy | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Bailout" -- Express Yourself makes it easy to email the people who count on this. Or click here to find phone numbers and other contact info for New Mexico's Congressional delegation.
I agree with what Bob Herbert at the NY Times says:

Does anyone think it’s just a little weird to be stampeded into a $700 billion solution to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression by the very people who brought us the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

How about a second opinion?

We're supposed to take seriously a $700 billion "solution" proposed by the very forces that caused the debacle in the first place? And Congress is supposed to totally surrender its oversight duties to the Treasury Secretary (formerly of Goldman Sachs)? And nobody will ever get to challenge what's done with the money? This is absurd on its face. How did they even arrive at the $700 billion figure? Why not $100 billion or $650 billion or, better yet, how about increments of $10 billion where the T. Sec. has to come back for an OK from Congress every time? $700 billion seems like it was pulled out a hat. And it probably was, a nice round figure like that. Who will challenge it?

Granted, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd is making noises about holding down executive compensation at the failed institutions, tossing some crumbs to those whose homes are being foreclosed and demanding some very minor oversight -- but he and other powerful Dems are essentially buying into the unprecedented buyout of toxic debt hook, line and sinker. They don't seen to care that not one strong argument has been offered as to why it would even work to solve the real problems we're up against.

Read Andrew Sorkin's A Bailout Above the Law for more on why the response of the Democrats so far is entirely inadequate. Quote:

Let put aside the bill’s most offensive aspect — the raw power it gives the Treasury Department, and the lack of oversight it provides — and take a closer look at the practicalities. First off, there is nothing in the bill that will prevent these problems from happening again. The bill doesn’t address adding greater transparency in investments in subprime loans and securities and credit derivatives, which led directly to the debacles atLehman and A.I.G. The bill does nothing to rein in the credit-default swap market, which has turned out to be the weapon of financial mass destruction that Warren Buffett always said it was.

Nor are the Democrats going to help matters with their own changes. It is all well and good that they hope to use the bill to restrain executive compensation, and add stipulations to help people in danger of losing their homes. But nothing the Democrats have suggested so far tackles the core issues of oversight, transparency or regulation.

Enough! -- As Obama said at his acceptance speech at Mile High. Clearly, the only chance we have to stop this thing, or at least improve it drastically, is to CONTACT OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS et al. and let them know in no uncertain terms what we want from them. makes it easy to email them. Or click here to find phone numbers and other contact info for New Mexico's Congressional delegation.

Technorati Tags:

September 23, 2008 at 11:22 AM in Business, Corporatism, Crime, Economy, Populism, Government, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NM-01: Heinrich Calls on White to Return Taxpayer Funding for Bush Fundraiser

The Heinrich for Congress campaign announced that Martin Heinrich hand-delivered a letter today to Darren White demanding he reimburse Bernalillo County for the expenses incurred when Darren hosted President Bush for a private fundraiser for his campaign for Congress in May. Four months later, Darren White has yet to reimburse the taxpayers for the $5,000 in expenses for a motorcade escort, traffic control, and security. In addition, taxpayers were also stuck with the bill for President Bush's fuel and expenses for Air Force One.

Here's the full text of Martin's letter to Darren White, dated September 16, 2008:

Mr. Darren White
Darren White for Congress
7208 Jefferson Street NE, Suite B
Albuquerque, NM 87109

VIA: Hand Delivery

Dear Darren,

It has come to my attention that your campaign owes the hardworking taxpayers of Bernalillo County nearly $5,000 for the fundraiser you threw with President George W. Bush on May 27th, 2008. While you sold your guests photos for $5,000, you stuck taxpayers with a $5,000 bill for your exclusive invitation-only party. I demand that you return every dollar immediately and apologize to all New Mexico taxpayers for burdening them with your tab.

But that's not all. How much did the private-party cost American taxpayers? Our struggling middle-class American taxpayers paid a whopping $113,036 for President Bush to idle his airplane at the Sunport while he wined and dined your top donors. Passing this bill off to our struggling working families is simply unacceptable.

With the price of gas nearing $4.00, healthcare and education costs skyrocketing, our middle-class New Mexicans are bearing the brunt of eight years of failed Bush Administration economic policies. As if the Bush administration hasn't already done enough to middle-class New Mexicans, now you and George Bush are sticking New Mexico taxpayers with another backhanded tax bill?

I hope that you'll now do the honorable thing and return every single dollar you owe taxpayers with an immediate apology -- middle-class families in Central New Mexico deserve nothing less.


Martin Heinrich

Technorati Tags:

September 16, 2008 at 07:20 PM in Government, Local Politics, NM-01 Congressional Seat 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Santa Fe Railyard Grand Opening This Weekend

From the City of Santa Fe: Santa Fe Mayor David Coss invites the community to attend the grand opening of the Santa Fe Railyard this weekend. Back in 1995, the residents of Santa Fe decided to purchase the Railyard property as a city investment for the future of the community. We are about to see the vision for this space become a reality.

On September 13 and 14, the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation and The Trust for Public Land have planned a community celebration of the revitalized 50-acre Railyard. There are tons of fun and free activities for children and families, including art workshops, live entertainment, yoga in the park, a community dance and more. All are invited aboard the Santa Fe Southern Railway for FREE train rides on Sunday. A full schedule is here and will also be printed in a special supplement in this Wednesday’s New Mexican. Other information is posted on We hope to see you there!

September 9, 2008 at 11:22 AM in Events, Government, Santa Fe Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lt. Gov. Denish and Cabinet Secretaries to Address Future of NM

Lt. Governor Diane Denish along with state Cabinet secretaries present, “The Future of New Mexico” on Wednesday, September 10, at 7 PM at the UNM Continuing Education Bldg., 1634 University Boulevard NE in Albuquerque, just north of Indian School Road. The free event is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of New Mexico.

Denish will emphasize the overall situations facing New Mexico currently. The Cabinet secretaries will speak on their areas of expertise. Because New Mexico is a prominent “swing state” for voting in the November election, it is critical to explore issues on the state as well as national levels.

This presentation is part of a series sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM Continuing Education. Last September, Mayor Martin Chavez spoke on “The Future of Albuquerque.” Upcoming lectures will cover the future of the Southwest and the future of the nation.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will also hold a membership drive September 10. Everyone age 50 and above can become a member for only $20. Membership opens the way to courses, performances, lectures and travel. Osher’s university-level courses aim to deepen understanding of art, current events, history, music and culture.

UNM Continuing Education has free parking. For more information, contact Maya Sutton, Ph.D., Osher Supervisor, at 277-6179.

September 8, 2008 at 11:13 PM in Events, Government | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Bad Guys Win (for Now): AG King & SOS Herrera Side with Shannon Robinson on NMYO; Shannon's Tirade on Senate Floor

MherreraNo surprise here. Secretary of State Mary Herrera (right) decided to accept Attorney General Gary King's advice about changing New Mexico Youth Organized's legal status. Herrera evidently made her decision based on King's secretive determination, using undisclosed criteria, that the non-profit NMYO had crossed some undefined political line with its mailings about the voting records and campaign donors of certain lawmakers months before the June 3rd primary election.

Letter from the Secretary of State
Herrera issued her letter yesterday instructing Keegan King, the Director of New Mexico Youth Organized, to comply with the reporting requirements of a political committee rather than a nonprofit. You can read her letter here. Note that Herrera couldn't even get the letter's salutation right -- starting the letter with "Dear Mr. Keegan." The brief letter reveals no details about why the decision was made or the criteria used to make it. It simply says NMYO "appears" to be acting like a political committee, and gives the nonprofit ten days to explain and correct its alleged "violation" and complete and file documents that were attached to the original letter.

Herrera doesn't even bother to name or describe what she calls the "apparent violation," perhaps because she really doesn't know what it is. What we know is that defeated status quo insider Shannon Robinson complained to the AG back in May about NMYO. We know that the AG's office quickly jumped in response and sent Herrera an inaccurate, horribly researched letter two weeks before the primary. I'm sure that Robinson probably thought that would help him in the election. It had become quite clear that he was way behind.

We know that the AG's office then asked the SOS to ignore the letter and that there was a odd lull after that. We know that AG King finally did directly advise Herrera in a private meeting last Friday. And that today she jumped, without explanation or definition of the "violation" committed by NMYO. Nobody from the SOS's office or the AG's office has to date met or spoken with anyone representing NMYO or the Center for Civic Policy (its parent organization) about the matter.

Response by the Center for Civic Policy
Eli Il Yong Lee, Executive Director of the Center for Civic Policy, the parent group of New Mexico Youth Organized, issued this statement yesterday in response to the SOS's letter:

"The Center for Civic Policy and New Mexico Youth Organized strongly disagree with the decision made public today by Secretary of State Mary Herrera and Attorney General Gary King. We will pursue all legal remedies at our disposal.

With our educational mailings, we upheld our responsibility to make sure New Mexicans knew what actions have been taken on issues important to them by their elected officials. Any effort to restrict this legal activity would muzzle New Mexico nonprofits from doing the very important job of keeping public officials accountable. Public information is just that…public. Any attempt to hide this kind of information is not in the interests of the people of New Mexico. It is surprising that any public official would actually advocate for this irresponsible course of action."

Fishy1If It Swims Like a Fish ...
So, is Mary Herrera caving under the same status quo political pressure that may be steering Attorney General Gary King on this matter? Nobody knows, but this whole thing sure looks fishy. And if it swims like a fish and blows bubbles like a fish, it probably IS fishy, right?

Don't forget that the press release issued by AG King to explain how he came to his legal position said, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. And I think we know a duck when we see one." Imagine an attorney general in any other state making a similarly vacuous and unprofessional statement to the press about a decision that could impact the majority of nonprofits operating in the state.

Windmills1Super Heroes to the Rescue in the Windmill Tilt
I've been a Democrat all my life. It pains me that two of the top Democratic elected officials in the state seem to be acting without a logical, legal explanation or any semblance of fairness in furthering Shannon Robinson's Quixotic quest. It's hard for me to believe they take the paranoid Robinson seriously when he blames his thorough drubbing at the polls on some nefarious plot.

Everybody knew Robinson was probably finished when he was called out repeatedly by the Albuquerque Journal for steering legislative appropriations to the rugby team he coaches. He was caught in the act abusing public funds. He had no convincing explanation. Voters noticed.

But in Robinson's mind, it's Shannon against the world, and Mary and Gary are the super heros he calls forth to help him protect truth, justice and the American way. Well, if the American way means voting the wishes of your campaign donors, ignoring the pressing needs of your constituents and refusing to accept the results of an election.

Scare Tactics
Make no mistake about it. This particular attack may be against NMYO, but it sure seems designed to scare, intimidate and threaten other nonprofits from doing their jobs in educating the public about the behavior of their elected officials. The hit job also seems aimed at gobbling up the resources, time and attention of a number of nonprofits to lessen their effectiveness in educating the public.

JumpsharkShannon Jumps the Shark
You'd think that Shannon Robinson's reprehensible behavior on the Floor of the State Senate last Friday, as well as other crazy statements he's made of late, would be highly embarrasing to both King and Herrera. This is the point of view they are both apparently defending.

Check out these gems reported by the NMI's Trip Jennings as Sen. Shannon Robinson's utterances on the Senate Floor last Friday during the New Mexico Special Legislative Sessiion:

Robinson said, "I'm on a manhunt. And I am going to track it down. Follow the money.... These nonprofit watchdogs are anything but that. They don't have a right to be a nonprofit. They are going to have to face charges of tax evasion. This is a scheme to avoid taxes We are going to see in the next few months ... the state Supreme Court will back us up on that. I think the AG will back us up.

During his speech, Robinson appeared to accuse Sen. Gerald Ortiz Y Pino of participating in a conspiracy of silence. "Sen. Ortiz y Pino will not comment," Robinson said. "He knows if he talks about it he can get indicted."

Robinson then turned questions toward Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque. McSorley would have none of it, however. "I dont know of anything of what you are talking about. I have no idea of what you are talking about," McSorley said to Robinson. "There you have it," Robinson said.

Here's the Albuquerque Journal's account of what they term Robinson's half-hour "tirade" on the Senate Floor. Quote:

In his blistering tirade, which included references to the devil, George Soros and the FBI, Robinson also accused city and state agencies of wrongdoing but gave no details. And he asserted that two senators have ties to the nonprofit, the Center for Civic Policy.

... On the Senate floor Friday, Robinson said, "That organization put out obscene literature. It shows a picture, supposedly of me, taking the oath of office with my left hand. Now only the devil swears in with his left hand." He also said Soros, a philanthropist and social activist, was financing the group — a charge Lee denies. [emphasis mine]

... McSorley said, "I don't think anybody has any idea about what you're talking about here. Robinson's response: "Okay. There you have it. And you know what? If you live by the sword you die by the sword. And if you lie under oath, eventually what happens is, the FBI shows up."

You have to give Robinson credit for chutzpah. He personally attacked two of the most ethically responsible and highly respected Senators in the chamber, right to their faces. You may or may not agree with the politics of Ortiz y Pino and McSorley, but there has never been even a whiff of scandal connected to either of them. Yet somehow, in Shannon's mind, they're in on the plot to get him. It's a pretty wide-ranging plot, after all.

The Plot Thickens
And now the "conspiracy" is spreading -- to federal races in New Mexico -- according to Robinson's rambling statements in an interview with Peter St. Cyr just before Shannon headed to Santa Fe for the Special Session. You really must listen to the entire audio file yourselves to get the full flavor of just where Robinson is headed with his "conspiracy" talk. It's no longer merely wacky. It's no longer merely odd. It's downright scary in my book. Listening to this interview made my hair stand on end. Maybe that's it. Maybe people are afraid to go too hard on him, you know?

See our previous post on this matter and the lawsuit filed by Robinson and two other losing primary candidates. That post contains a list of links to other posts related to the attack on the primary winners and various nonprofits. Also see another recent post that provides a statement by the Southwest Organizing Project on the attacks by Robinson.

Technorati Tags:

August 19, 2008 at 01:17 AM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Corporatism, Crime, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Government, Justice, Local Politics, Progressivism | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tonight & Tomorrow: Lt. Col. to Speak on "Progressive" Foreign Policy in Santa Fe, ABQ

From the National Security Network (NSN): NSN, founded in 2006 to revitalize America's national security policy, bringing cohesion and strategic focus to the progressive national security community, will host town hall meetings in Santa Fe and Albuquerque tonight and tomorrow. Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham (US Army Reserve Ret.) will be leading a discussions about Keeping America Safe and Safeguarding American Values.

The Santa Fe event will take place tonight, August 13, at 7:00 PM, at The Forum at the College of Santa Fe, 1600 St. Michael's Drive. The Albuquerque town hall is set for tomorrow, August 14, at 7:00 PM in Ballroom A at the UNM Student Union Building in Albuquerque. Free and open to the public.

ABOUT THE NSN: The National Security Network develops and promotes national security solutions that are both pragmatic and principled.  We work with experts and activists, candidates and elected officials to connect decision-makers and opinion leaders with the best foreign policy options available – in language that works for them and that their constituents understand and support.

We look to the future with a policy outlook that draws on the best traditions of American foreign policy: an unwavering commitment to American values, a return to shrewd diplomacy, a focus on effective partnerships and alliances, and a strong and flexible military.

What We Do

Policy analysis and development: NSN convenes top foreign policy experts and advocates to identify and develop innovative policy;  andthen helps put it forward in ways that elected officials, the media, activists and experts alike can understand and use.

Messaging: NSN works with experts, advocacy groups and candidates to develop and sharpen national security messages that will resonate with the broadest public audience.

Building a progressive national security community: NSN offers substantive policy advice, builds bridges, and shares resources to help progressives – from Capitol Hill to national advocacy campaigns
to local community groups – turn shared basic principles into a smart, savvy voice on national security.

Who We Are and How We Work

NSN is:

  • a Washington staff with a wealth of experience in diplomatic and military service, politics and advocacy;
  • a Board with top-level experience in government service, business, and the non-profit sector;
  • state chapters in Iowa, Ohio and Florida, with more to come; and
  • a network of more than 2,000 members and experts, representing the emerging generation of progressive foreign policy leaders.

NSN works:

  • with progressive Capitol Hill leadership, to build agendas and inform staff;
  • with party and political leadership, to train and support candidates on national security issues;
  • with national and local media, to shape and inform national security coverage;
  • with think tanks and experts, to help get their ideas to the media and public;
  • with advocacy groups and campaigns, to mesh sophisticated foreign policy analysis with state-of-the-art outreach.

For more info, contact:

Ryan Keenan, State Outreach Coordinator
National Security Network
Office: 202 289 5999
Direct: 202 289 7117
Cell: 570 862 5766
fax: 202 682 6140

August 13, 2008 at 09:44 AM in Current Affairs, Events, Government, International Relations, Military Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nonprofits Respond to AG King's Odd Behavior, Threaten "Unnnecessary" Litigation

I'll try to bring you up to date on the story of the manufactured outrage over direct mail pieces distributed by nonprofits to call attention to the voting records of certain long-time incumbents in the New Mexico State Legislature. And the legal wrangling going on as the story evolves.

Agking_2The Letter from AG King's Office
Besides a recent lawsuit, we have a situation where Attorney General Gary King's office issued a letter in May to the Secretary of State advising that, in essence, New Mexico Youth Organized's status should be changed from a nonprofit to a PAC. The letter was sent the day after State Sen. Shannon Robinson reportedly complained to the AG's office about NMYO. The day after that, the office of the SOS reportedly got a call from the AG's office advising them to ignore their letter about NMYO. That's where action by the AG's office stopped -- until a recent story in the New Mexico Independent apparently prompted them to issue a press release on Friday standing behind the original letter from the AG's office. More on that below.

On What Criteria and Facts Did King Base His Opinion?
By any standard legal measure, it clearly appears the nonprofits -- including New Mexico Youth Organized -- followed the law in their activities. Their goal was to educate the community about who gave money to legislators and how legislators voted, as is their right and even their duty given the goals of the organizations. It certainly looks like they followed the rules and honored the traditional communication timelines. Moreover, they've said that their top-notch legal advisors thoroughly vetted their every action.

As far as I know, none of that has been challenged on specific, documented legal grounds by AG Gary King, either in his office's original opinion letter to the Secretary of State about the matter or in the Friday press release.

Putting the Cart Before the Horse
Oddly, although the AG's office issued an advisory letter to the Secretary of State in May and backed that letter in their Friday press release, they have also said that the matter is still under advisement and that they are performing "due diligence" to study the matter. Why would the AG's office issue an opinion letter and then dig into the case AFTERWARDS? I guess political pressure does strange things to some people. Big time muckety-muck.

AlligatorduckDuck Soup
King issued what I think is an incredibly embarrassing press release Friday in lieu of any legal communication with the parties and stated he believes the legal status of New Mexico Youth Organized should be changed to a PAC because, to quote him:

“There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. And I think we know a duck when we see one.”

Quite the legal language for the people's top lawyer, isn't it? AG King offered no legal citations or factual documentation in the release to back up his view that the status of New Mexico Youth Organized should be changed. By his own account, King just knows an alleged offense when he sees it. He doesn't define how NMYO crossed the legal line, but apparently he knows in his heart they did. King's statement boggles my mind -- so I can only imagine what it does to minds trained in the law. And since when does the AG's office issue opinions in the media instead of using standard legal channels?

Two Nonprofits Rebut King
The Center for Civic Policy and New Mexico Youth Organized (NMYO), two of the local nonprofits being targeted, issued statements yesterday rebutting King and his advice to the Secretary of State:

The United States Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that election officials are only permitted to regulate public statements that explicitly address elections.  They are not permitted to regulate public statements that relate to officeholders' conduct, even though those officeholders may be running for re-election.  This is fundamental to the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech.  The Attorney General's statement that he recognizes what can be regulated on the basis of whether it 'walks like a duck' is an indication that he doesn't understand the law in this area, and he is inviting entirely unnecessary litigation against the State of New Mexico." [emphasis mine]

--John Boyd, Counsel for Center for Civic Policy and New Mexico Youth Organized, Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander Goldberg and Cline

--Sara Berger, Counsel for Center for Civic Policy and New Mexico Youth Organized

"We are disappointed by Attorney General King's uncharacteristically glib assessment of a serious matter.  At stake is the ability of nonprofits throughout New Mexico to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and to advocate for issues that are critical to their missions.  Further, we are disappointed that the Attorney General is issuing a verdict through the media prior to his office completing its research on this matter."

-- Eli Il Yong Lee, Executive Director, Center for Civic Policy

PowercorruptsWhy Is All This Happening?
Ever since it became evident that three progressive reform candidates were making headway against entrenched, business-as-usual incumbents in the recent Democratic primary, the minions and mouthpieces of the lobbyists and big donors have been bent on discrediting the nonprofits and the three eventual winning candidates. They've planted rumors and statements on the blogs. They've complained about cheating and nefarious plots. The losing candidates filed a bogus lawsuit. And now this.

Why all the ruckus? Because genuine ethics and campaign finance reform legislation is coming closer and closer to passing. Because genuine health care reform is coming closer and closer to passing. Because domestic partnership legislation is coming closer and closer to passing. Et cetera.

The complainers -- named and unnamed -- and the primary losers have been reliable opponents of change and reform, within the legislature and in its hallways. They've functioned as stoppers, protecting the power blocs that oppose anyone rocking the corporate-steered boat. And now the people are learning the truth and voting accordingly. Damn right the status quo is feeling vulnerable. They're on the run as more and more election challengers and issue-based activists feel strong enough to go up against them. That's a good thing.

But what isn't good is that the erratic, opaque and secretive behavior of Attorney General Gary King related to this matter tends to suggest that he's taking his cues from political bigwigs rather than from the dictates of the law. I'm not saying it IS that way, but it sure LOOKS that way, doesn't it? It looks like certain parties are feeling cornered so they're trying to put the thumb on those who have a tendency to give in easily for one reason or another. I hope that's not true, but there it is. As they say, timing is everything.

Some previous posts on these and related issues:

Technorati Tags:

August 10, 2008 at 03:54 PM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Government, Local Politics, Progressivism | Permalink | Comments (7)