Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver's revised measure for campaign finance rulemaking is rubbing some free speech advocates the wrong way. The new rule mandates that citizens list their names and personal information publicly in order to support a cause. In a statement, Oliver defended the new measure by arguing it would allow for greater transparency.
“New Mexicans all across our state stepped up to make their voices heard about the future of our campaign finance system,” she said. “This revised campaign finance rule draft reflects what we heard from our fellow citizens in the public hearings and in their official comments. We are continuing to work towards greater transparency and disclosure in political campaigns because New Mexicans have a right to know who is paying for the TV commercials and ads that are trying to influence their vote.”
Concerned Veterans of America rejected her line of defense.
“Secretary Oliver’s unconstitutional attempt to limit free speech has caught the attention of citizens across New Mexico and the country," CVA Policy Director Dan Caldwell said in a statement. "Activists in New Mexico are deeply concerned and have submitted comments to the Secretary of State’s office, contacted their state legislators, and gone door to door to educate their neighbors about this threat. Secretary Oliver’s flawed rule will limit the free speech rights of New Mexicans and shutter open debate — it must be stopped.”
The group has launched a tool providing citizens a way to voice their opposition to the measure. In the pre-written message, the CVA encourages New Mexicans to tell Kari Fresquez, who works for Oliver, that they believe the new measure is a breach of privacy. With their names unwillingly placed on a government registry, New Mexicans would be subject to "intimidation and harassment."
They have also launched a campaign called "Defend the First" as a way to safeguard citizens' First Amendment rights.