ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — All candidates are required to file reports showing who donates to their campaigns and how that money is being spent, but News 13 found dozens of people are ignoring the law.
The first deadline to file campaign finance reports on the secretary of state's website was more than a week and a half ago on April 9. But according to the secretary of state's office, 108 candidates either filed late or did not file at all. As of Thursday, 47 people still had not filed.
"I mean this is the law, people are required to follow it," said Gwyneth Doland with the Foundation for Open Government. "We need to know who is giving money to people who are running for office."
Six current lawmakers were among those candidates who filed their reports passed the deadline.
"There's no excuse for having a late report," said Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, who filed his report two days late.
But Maestas said the first deadline came at an inconvenient time.
"You have redistricting, you have a new universe of voters, you have tax season, Easter, new software," said Maestas.
Maestas, who is running unopposed in House District 16, said some lawmakers were also tied up in legal battles over their nominating petitions.
"This is a whole new system, and I've just got to learn it," said Shannon Robinson, a Republican candidate for Albuquerque Senate District 17.
Robinson, who served as a Democrat in the Senate for 20 years before losing in 2008 to Democratic incumbent Sen. Tim Keller, finally filed his campaign finance reports on Thursday.
However, Robinson will likely be fined at least $350 for his tardy report. The secretary of state mailed letters to all late and non-filers this week, saying they'll be fined $50 for each business day they are late. Candidates who don't file at all could pay the maximum fine of $5,000.
"In the past, we have done nothing to make sure these reports are in and on time," said Doland.
The monetary fines have been around for years, according to secretary of state spokesman Ken Ortiz, but he said the previous administration never enforced or collected them. Ortiz said that is all changing this year. In the letter, candidates are given ten days to write a written response explaining why their reports were late. The state could decide to partially or fully waive the fine if candidates have a valid excuse.
There are seven more campaign finance reports due this year. The next deadline is May 14.
Copyright 2013 KRQE TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Did you like this article? Vote it up or down! And don't forget to add your comments below!
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.