Committee Chair Fails to Schedule HB269 for a Hearing

SANTA FE – A bi-partisan bill that would require audits of publicly financed candidates has stalled in the House Local Government, Elections, Land Grants & Cultural Affairs Committee chaired by Representative Miguel Garcia.

House Bill 269 received a message from Governor Martinez but never received a hearing despite having just one committee referral in the House.

“Fighting waste, fraud, and abuse is a priority at the Office of the State Auditor,” Auditor Johnson said. “Anyone who receives state taxpayer dollars should be subject to review for compliance with state and local laws. Publicly financed candidates often receive hundreds of thousands of dollars that are rarely reviewed.”

The State Audit Act requires public entities that spend more than $50,000 in tax-payer dollars to be subject to annual audits. Publicly financed candidates often receive several times that amount.

The bill sponsored by State Representatives Zach Cook and Cathrynn Brown, would require an important third-party post-election review to guarantee the integrity of the public financing system.

“At this late date, it’s unlikely that HB269 will be heard. I can only assume that the committee’s chair Representative Garcia, is not interested in holding those who use public money for personal political campaigns accountable”, continued Auditor Johnson. “This is the type of good government bill that everyone should be able to get behind.”

The 2018 legislative session ends tomorrow at noon.