The Latest: US judge weighs New Mexico campaign rules
Oct. 17, 2017
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on campaign donations in the race for New Mexico governor (all times local):
It will be up to a U.S. district judge whether Republican Steve Pearce will be allowed to tap nearly $1 million in political contributions he collected while in Congress to use in his gubernatorial run.
Judge Judith Herrera heard hours of testimony Monday. She indicated she will make a decision soon on whether to grant Pearce's request for a preliminary injunction to block the secretary of state's office from enforcing limitations on campaign transfers from money raised in non-state races.
Under a campaign reporting law adopted in 2009, candidates running for state offices can transfer funds from one campaign account to another if they're run for a new state office.
Despite questions about the constitutionality of the provision, state election officials contend there's no mechanism that allows any candidate to transfer unlimited federal funds into a state campaign account under New Mexico's Campaign Reporting Act.
Attorneys for Republican Steve Pearce are seeking a preliminary injunction to tap nearly $1 million in political contributions he collected while in Congress to use in his gubernatorial run.
They argued during a hearing in federal court Monday that New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, is misinterpreting a state law that limits campaign contributions and is effectively violating Pearce's constitutional rights.
They say the transfer of funds between Pearce's federal and state accounts should not be considered as an individual contribution. They also highlighted inconsistencies in the reporting law, which allows candidates running for offices within the state to transfer money from one account to another despite the limits.
Attorneys for the state denied that the defendants are treating Pearce differently due to his party affiliation.