Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Integrity - Campaign Finance
Consider how unhappy most of us are that it appears at least one foreign government interfered with our most recent presidential election. We don't want foreign money, spying, or hacking impacting the democratic processes we use to determine who represents us in our highest offices.
Bring it closer to home. In recent mayoral elections, PACs from Texas and other locations have tried to influence the outcomes of our mayoral elections in Las Cruces. We don't like it.
How, then, is that different from accepting money from outside interests, be they outside Las Cruces city limits in Doña Ana County, outside Doña Ana County in New Mexico, outside New Mexico in the United States, or outside our country? To my thinking, it is not different, and I have tried to impose a fair, if stringent, condition on campaign donations in my race for mayor.
It complicates things because a number of people wish to donate who do not live or work in Las Cruces, but they feel that what happens in Las Cruces has an impact on their lives and their endeavors. Still, I have to be true to what I believe. I have to impose that extra layer of integrity.
So, donations are only accepted from individuals who live in Las Cruces or whose work or business is headquartered in Las Cruces. I have limited the total of donations from each individual donor to $1,000 and anonymous donations to $10. Both are less than the limits imposed by law ($2,300 and $20).
At a recent campaign event, someone put a $100 bill anonymously in the donation jar. Yesterday, at a non-campaign event, someone from a nearby county handed me a $20 bill meant to be an anonymous donation. In both cases, the money is going to Community of Hope because I cannot accept those donations under my rules for my campaign fund raising.
To be fair, in the second instance, I did know who was donating the money, but it was in the middle of an event under circumstances that didn't offer an opportunity to explain my rules. I will pass along the $20 to Community of Hope and send an explanation to the individual who made the donation.
Similarly, it is common practice for people running for elected office to make contributions from their campaign accounts to other campaigns. Those kinds of contributions are not accepted by my campaign, and I have returned checks from campaign accounts when I was running for the District 2 seat.
Thus, inspections of my campaign account this time will reveal a few contributions from people who do not live in the city limits, but whose employment or business is headquartered here. In one instance, someone lives in Doña Ana County, is retired, but is the primary care-giver for their parent, who lives in Las Cruces. In another, a different Doña Ana County resident owns rental properties in Las Cruces. However, mostly what will be seen are contributions coming from people who live in our city and want to see a full-time mayor elected this time.
With all that is happening nationally and in nearby states, I can understand the desire to influence what happens in other districts and jurisdictions. However, I refrain from donating to campaigns when I am not a constituent. I apply essentially that same expectation on contributions to my campaign for mayor.
Thanks, then, to all who wish to contribute but who are neither residents nor employed or business owners in Las Cruces. Your support is very much appreciated, and you are still welcome to share good word-of-mouth about me in this campaign. However, financial contributions to my campaign for mayor need to be limited to Las Cruces residents or people with business or employment headquartered here.
Let's elect Gregory Z. Smith Mayor of Las Cruces with a campaign about Las Cruces, for Las Cruces, and from Las Cruces.
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