A federal judge found that some provisions of a New Mexico campaign finance law restricting the amount of money state political parties may receive are unconstitutional.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Chief U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson gave his opinion on a case that was first brought 11 years ago by the Republican Party of New Mexico and other plaintiffs with ties to the GOP.
The state’s Campaign Reporting Act includes the campaign funding regulations. Five of the established boundaries were contested by state Republican politicians, including those from Bernalillo County, Doa Ana County, and GOP-leaning groups.
Three, according to Johnson, broke the First Amendment. They include a $5,500 limit for all other candidates and county parties each election cycle, as well as a $11,000 cap on state party payments to gubernatorial candidates or candidate groups.
According to Johnson, the limitations on contributions to candidates were lower than those in other states and below those upheld by the US Supreme Court.
The judge determined that the state did not provide sufficient proof that there was a possibility of “quid pro quo corruption” or the appearance of it with reference to contributions to county political parties.
The judge, however, rejected the lawsuit’s argument against the $27,500 cap on individual and corporate donations to state political parties. Additionally, he maintained the $27,500 cap on federal election-related contributions from national political parties to state political parties.
The Republican Party of New Mexico’s legal staff is reviewing the judgment, a representative for the party informed the newspaper on Thursday.
In response to the newspaper’s requests for comment on Thursday, representatives from the state Attorney General’s Office, which represented the state, provided prompt responses.
In 2009, the regulations governing campaign financing were passed in reaction to political corruption in the state. The judge detailed that sordid history, including a high-profile incident involving the former governor Bill Richardson, in the 87-page judgement. In 2008, the then-Democratic governor was the subject of a federal inquiry after allegations that he had given political contributors public contracts. He withdrew from contention to be Secretary of Commerce under President Barack Obama as a result of the allegations.