Every day, New Mexicans pay a heavy price due to the influence of big money in politics. High unemployment, insufficient resources in our schools, and stagnant job growth continue to plague our state. How is big money in politics to blame?
The lack of both transparency and clear, ethical standards in our campaign system prevents elected officials from solving big problems. The vast majority of elected officials in New Mexico are hard-working, principled people who want the best for our state. Unfortunately, they are often caught in gray areas of confusing ethics laws while being dependent on big donors to fund their campaigns. This allows for ethical conflicts and drowns out the voices of everyday New Mexicans who can’t afford to contribute.
Eighty-eight percent of New Mexicans support requiring more public disclosure and reporting from groups who spend money on political campaigns,, according to a 2015 poll by Common Cause New Mexico. Most voters believe that powerful interest groups use their donations to steer policy in the direction of their own interests, which may not be in the public interest. Only 19 percent of voters believe elected officials are more responsive to voters than lobbyists. Additionally, 92 percent support requiring all large political contributions to be made public, and 86 percent support an independent ethics commission.
Our campaign system is broken and ethics scandals continue to plague our state. This includes the past three Secretaries of State, who all faced ethical charges and investigations. Most recently, former Secretary of State Dianna Duran resigned in October of 2015 due to charges of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and identity theft. Even worse, it’s the taxpayers who foot the bill for investigations of government abuse and waste. Now, we have a path forward to fix this problem.
The New Mexico Pledge for Government Accountability is a commitment to put our state on a path to an accountable, transparent, and responsive state government that works for ALL New Mexicans. This is not about Democrat vs. Republican, this is about making our state government accountable. The following potential solutions could be the foundation for a more accountable, transparent state government.
Therefore, I ___________________________, pledge my support for solutions that increase government accountability through transparency, enforcement of ethical standards, and increased participation in the political process. These solutions will help get our state leaders focused on the issues that impact us all.