Guide to Campaign Finance and Campaign Reporting



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2014




New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office


Guide to Campaign Finance and Campaign Reporting




For Candidates and Campaign Committees

This guide includes information pertaining to campaign finance requirements within New Mexico. When financing communications in connection with New Mexico elections, it is important to understand that the rules differ depending on the manner in which the communication is made. There are significant differences that apply depending on if the communication is made by a candidate or campaign committee; coordinated with a candidate or party committee; or is produced and distributed independently.

In general, amounts contributed to a candidate’s committee and political committees who are not making independent expenditures are limited by New Mexico law. Amounts spent for coordinated communications are also limited, while independent expenditures are unlimited.

The New Mexico Campaign Reporting Act (the Act) places monetary limits on contributions to support candidates for offices covered by the Act and prohibits contributions from certain sources. This brochure discusses contribution limits, describes the various prohibitions on contributions and explains how a committee should handle contributions that appear to be violate the Act..

The reader should not rely solely on this brochure but should also consult the Campaign Reporting Act, the New Mexico Election Code and case law from the New Mexico state and federal courts. Citations refer to the New Mexico Election Code.

If you have any questions pertaining to the information contained in this guide, please call the Bureau of Elections, Ethics Division at (505) 827-3617 or (505) 476-0354.




(Editing Note: The Secretary of State's Advisory Committee recommended additions identified in blue to the original compilation of material.)

Starting the Campaign:

Who is covered by the Campaign Reporting Act (CRA) as a Candidate or Campaign Committee?
Candidate” see definition below. When a non-statewide candidate either 1) files a declaration of candidacy or nominating petitions; or 2) raises $1000 or more, he or she meets the definition of a candidate. When a statewide candidate either 1) files a declaration or candidacy or nominating petitions or 2) raises $2500 or more, he or she meets the definition of a candidate. (1-19-26(E) NMSA 1978)

Campaign Committee” means two or more persons authorized by a candidate to raise, collect or expend contributions on the candidate's behalf for the purpose of electing the candidate to office. A Campaign Committee is the candidate's own committee. (1-19-26(D))



"Election" means any primary, general, or statewide special election in New Mexico and includes county and judicial retention elections, but excludes municipal school board and special district elections. (1-19-26(H) NMSA 1978 )

A candidate is covered by the CRA if he or she is running in a statewide election or in a countywide election. Municipal candidates, most school board candidates and special district candidates do not have to register with the Secretary of State's office or file reports under the CRA.



Certain School Board and Community College Candidates Must File Reports: However, under the School District Campaign Reporting Act, school board candidates for districts having an enrollment of 12,000 students or more, and candidates for community college boards organized under Chapter 21, Article 13 or Article 16, NMSA 1978, must register and file one annual report by midnight on the second Monday in April. (1-22A-2 NMSA 1978 )

Other Definitions under the CRA:

  1. Person” means an individual or entity (1-19-26(K) NMSA 1978)




  1. Public official” means a person elected to an office in an election covered by the Campaign Reporting Act or a person appointed to an office that is subject to an election covered by that act. (1-19-26(P) NMSA 1978)




  1. Reporting Individual”- means ever public official, candidate or treasurer of a campaign committee and every treasurer of a political committee. (1-19-26(Q) NMSA 1978)

There are penalties associated with failure to file reports, late filing or false filing by reporting individuals. (1-19-35 NMSA 1978)





  1. Proper Filing Officer”-means the Secretary of State. (1-19-26(O) NMSA 1978)



Other Entities Covered by the Campaign Reporting Act (CRA)
Political committee - means two or more persons, other than members of a candidate's immediate family or campaign committee or a husband and wife who make a contribution out of a joint account, who are selected, appointed, chosen, associated, organized or operated primarily for a political purpose; and "political committee" includes:

(1) political parties, political action committees or similar organizations composed of employees or members of any corporation, labor organization, trade or professional association or any other similar group that raises, collects, expends or contributes money or any other thing of value for a political purpose;

(2) a single individual whose actions represent that the individual is a political committee; and

(3) a person or an organization of two or more persons that within one calendar year expends funds in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) to conduct an advertising campaign for a political purpose; (1-19-26(L) NMSA 1978)

For information concerning political committees- see the Secretary of State's Guidelines for Political Committees.
When does a person become a candidate?

A “candidate” is an individual who seeks or considers an office in an election covered by the Act including a public official, who has either:




  1. Filed a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition; or




  1. For a non-statewide office, has received contributions or expenditures of $1,000 for the purpose of seeking election to office or authorized another person or campaign committee to receive or make expenditures of $1,000 or more for the purpose of seeking election to the office; or




  1. For a statewide office, has received contributions or made expenditures of $2,500 or more or authorized another person or campaign committee to receive contributions or make expenditures of $2,500 or more for the purpose of seeking election to the office or for candidacy exploration purposes in the years prior to the year of election.

(1-19-26(E) NMSA 1978)

The Campaign Reporting Act applies to candidates for statewide office, legislative office, magistrate judges, district judges, all elected county offices, and school districts having an enrollment over 12,000, and a community college. It does not apply to smaller school districts, municipal offices or special district elections.



A Candidate May Be Disqualified for Failure to Comply with the Campaign Reporting Act.
*A candidate’s name cannot be placed on the ballot nor can a certificate of nomination or election be issued if a candidate fails to comply with the reporting requirements of the Act.
Any candidate who fails or refuses to file a report of expenditures and contributions or statements of no activity or to pay a penalty imposed by the secretary of state as required by the Campaign Reporting Act shall not, in addition to any other penalties provided by law:


  1. have the candidate's name printed upon the ballot if the violation occurs before and through the final date for the withdrawal of candidates; or

2) be issued a certificate of nomination or election, if the violation occurs after the final date for withdrawal of candidates or after the election, until the candidate satisfies all reporting requirements of the Campaign Reporting Act and pays all penalties owed. (1-19-35(E) NMSA 1978)


Any candidate who loses an election and who failed or refused to file a report of expenditures and contributions or a statement of no activity or to pay a penalty imposed by the secretary of state as required by the Campaign Reporting Act shall not be, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, permitted to file a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition for any future election until the candidate satisfies all reporting requirements of that act and pays all penalties owed. (1-19-35(F) NMSA 1978)
What is a campaign committee?

A “campaign committee” means two or more persons authorized by a candidate to raise, collect or expend contributions on the candidate's behalf for the purpose of electing the candidate to office. (1-19-26(D) NMSA 1978)

All contributions and expenditures of a campaign committee will be considered to be contributions and expenditures of the candidate for all purposes under the Campaign Reporting Act.

What is the first step for a candidate and his or her campaign committee to register and begin reporting to the Office of Secretary of State?

Once a person reaches the monetary threshold for the office being sought, or files his or her declaration of candidacy and nominating petitions, if required, the person should complete a campaign committee registration form with the Office of Secretary of State to obtain a user ID and password on the Campaign Finance Information System. The form has been placed on our website in a fillable format and can be found at the following link:


Candidate Information for Campaign Reporting Form:
http://www.sos.state.nm.us/uploads/files/2014%20Candidate%20Information%20for%20Campaign%20Reporting.pdf

Upon receipt of this form the Office of Secretary of State will provide the campaign committee with a User ID and password for the Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS), used to file electronic campaign reports. CFIS can be accessed at the following link:

Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS): https://www.cfis.state.nm.us/

What is a campaign committee treasurer’s responsibility?

The candidate’s treasurer is personally responsible for carrying out the duties described in the Act and should understand the responsibilities and potential liabilities associated with said duties. Under the Act, the treasurer is a reporting individual who can be named in a complaint or official action against the candidate by the SOS office. Additionally, a treasurer may be found personally liable if he or she knowingly and willfully violates the Act. (1-19-35; 1-19-36)

For purposes of civil actions against candidates or public officials, it shall be presumed that they have authorized and approved each solicitation for campaign contributions made by their respective campaign committees or persons authorized by the campaign to solicit campaign contributions. (1-19-34.5(A) NMSA 1978)

What if the committee has a vacancy in the position of treasurer?

In the event that there is a vacancy in the position of treasurer for a campaign committee, a candidate may act as his or her own treasurer, but in any event, must maintain a treasurer in order to raise or spend campaign funds. If a change has been made to a treasurer of a campaign committee the update may be made directly by entering the new information in the CFIS, or by submitting the change to the Ethics Division staff. (1-19-34(A)(1) NMSA 1978 )



When are campaign reports due?

The Act establishes a filing schedule for all reports and prescribes monetary penalties for failure to file timely, complete or accurate reports or statements of no activity and provides for civil and criminal enforcement.

In a non-election year (an odd numbered year), candidates and campaign committees with an open account must file two reports, one on the second Monday in April, and one on the second Monday in October.

In an election year (even numbered years), candidates who are up for election must file at least 8 reports - 4 during the primary election cycle and 4 during the general election cycle.

Candidates who are not up for election during an even year, but who have open campaign accounts, must file two reports, one on the second Monday in April and one on the second Monday in October.

2014 Primary Election Reports:

Report due date:

Reports must be filed on or before the due dates listed below.



Reporting period:

Report all transactions within the dates listed below or not previously reported.



2nd Monday in April : April 14, 2014

October 7, 2013 through April 7, 2014

2nd Monday in May: May 12, 2014

April 8, 2014 through May 5, 2014

Thursday before the Primary: May 29, 2014

May 6, 2014 through May 27, 2014

30th day after the Primary: July 3, 2014

May 28, 2014 through June 28, 2014

2014 General Election Reports:

Report due date:

Reports must be filed by 5:00 p.m. on or before the due dates listed below.



Reporting period:

Report all transactions within the dates listed below or not previously reported.



2nd Monday in September: September 8, 2014

June 29, 2014 through September 1, 2014

2nd Monday in October: October 13 , 2014

September 2, 2014 through October 6, 2014

Thursday before the General: October 30, 2014

October 7, 2014 through October 28, 2014

30th day after the General: December 4, 2014

October 29, 2014 through November 29, 2014

(1-19-29 NMSA 1978)

Supplemental Reports

If you receive certain contributions immediately before the Primary or General Election, you must file supplemental reports.



Primary Election Supplemental Reports

Legislative or non-statewide judicial candidates:

Any contribution or pledge to contribute that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2014, that is for $500 or more in a legislative or non-statewide judicial election must be reported EITHER in a supplemental report within 24 hours of receipt or on the May 29, 2014, report.

Any such contribution or pledge to contribute (over $500) that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014, must be reported by 12:00 noon on Monday June 2 in a supplemental report. (1-19-29(B)(5) NMSA 1978)

For statewide candidates:

Any contribution or pledge to contribute that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2014, that is for $2,500 or more, must be reported EITHER in a supplemental report filed within 24 hours of receipt or on the May 29th report.

Any such contribution or pledge to contribute (over $2500) that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014, must be reported by 12:00 noon on Monday June 2 in a supplemental report. (1-19-29(B)(5) NMSA 1978)

General Election Cycle Supplemental Reports

For legislative or non-statewide judicial candidates:

Any contribution or pledge to contribute that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, and is for $500 or more in a legislative or non-statewide judicial election must be reported EITHER in a supplemental report within 24 hours of receipt or on the October 30th report.

Any such contribution or pledge to contribute (over $500) that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014, must be reported by 12:00 noon on Monday, November 3, 2014, in a supplemental report. (1-19-29(B)(5) NMSA 1978)

For statewide candidates:

Any contribution or pledge to contribute that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, and is for $2,500 or more, must be reported EITHER in a supplemental report field within 24 hours of receipt or on the October 30, 2014, report.

Any such contribution or pledge to contribute (over $2500) that is received after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2014, must be reported by 12:00 noon on Monday, November 3, 2014, in a supplemental report. (1-19-29(B)(5) NMSA 1978)

What is required to be reported by candidates and campaign committees?

Each required report of expenditures and contributions shall be filed electronically utilizing the Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS) and shall include:




  1. The name and address of the person or entity to whom an expenditure was made or from whom a contribution was received, except as provided for anonymous contributions or contributions received from special events as provided in Section 1-19-34 NMSA 1978; provided that for contributors, the name of the entity or the first and last names of any individual shall be the full name of the entity or individual, and initials only shall not constitute a full name unless that is the complete legal name;




  1. the occupation or type of business of any person or entity making contributions of two

hundred fifty dollars ($250) or more in the aggregate per election;


  1. the amount of the expenditure or contribution or value thereof;




  1. the purpose of the expenditure; and




  1. the date the expenditure was made or the contribution was received. For further guidance on the date for reporting, see page 17 below.

Each report shall contain an opening and closing cash balance for the bank account maintained

by the reporting individual during the reporting period and the name of the financial institution.
Each report shall specify the amount of each unpaid debt and the identity of the person to

whom the debt is owed. (1-19-31 NMSA 1978)


What if a candidate or committee forgets to report a contribution or expenditure?

You may either amend the report for the period covering the omitted transaction, OR you may report it on the most current report as a previously unreported transaction.


However, the failure to timely report transactions may still subject the committee to fines and/or penalties under the Campaign Reporting Act.
What if a candidate or committee has no transactions to report?
If a candidate or committee does not receive any contributions or expend any funds since the last report was filed, a statement of no activity may be filed in lieu of a campaign report.
Who is required to file campaign reports?
Except for candidates and campaign committees who file a statement of no activity, each treasurer of a political committee shall file a report of expenditures and contributions pursuant to the filing schedule. Reports are required until the reporting committee delivers a report to the filing officer stating:


  1. There are no outstanding campaign debts;

  2. all money has been expended in accordance with 1-19-29.1 NMSA 1978;

  3. the committee has dissolved; and

  4. the bank account has been closed.

(1-19-29(F) NMSA 1978)


What if a report is not filed or filed late?
The failure to timely report transactions may still subject the candidate or campaign committee to fines and/or penalties under the Campaign Reporting Act.
The Office of Secretary of State, at all times, will seek to ensure voluntary compliance with the provisions of the Campaign Reporting Act.
If it is determined that a provision of the Act has been violated, a written notice will be sent to the treasurer explaining the violation and fine imposed. The treasurer has ten working days from the date of the letter to correct the violation and provide written explanation stating the reason why the violation occurred. If a timely explanation is filed and it is determined that good cause exists to waive the fine imposed, the Office of Secretary of State may by written notice partially or fully waive any fine imposed for any late, incomplete or false report or statement of exception.
A candidate or committee may protest the Office of Secretary of State’s determination and any penalty imposed by a notice of final action, by completing and signing the Request for Arbitration sheet and submitting it for filing within ten working days of the date of the notice of final action. See Appendix "A" to this Guide.
The arbitrator shall conduct the hearing within thirty days of the request for arbitration. The arbitrator may impose any penalty the Office of Secretary of State is authorized to impose. The arbitrator shall state the reasons for his decision in a written document that shall be a public record. The decision shall be final and binding. The decision shall be issued and filed with the Office of Secretary of State within thirty days of the conclusion of the hearing.

(1-19-34.4 NMSA 1978)


What qualifies as a contribution?

A “contribution” is a gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or other thing of value, including the estimated value of an in-kind contribution, that is made or received for a political purpose, including payment of a debt incurred in an election campaign.

(1-19-26(F) NMSA 1978)

A “contribution” does not include the value of services provided without compensation or unreimbursed travel or other personal expenses of individuals who volunteer a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or political committee, nor does it include the administrative or solicitation expenses of a political committee that are paid by an organization that sponsors the committee. (1-19-26(F) NMSA 1978)

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