AG King set to appeal court ruling

By Ashley Stinnett | Aug 24, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline) ' New Mexico Attorney General Gary King on Monday announced his office is preparing an appeal of a recent District Court ruling that exempted two nonprofit groups from state campaign finance law.

The appeal is aimed at an August 3rd ruling in which federal Judge Judith Herrera ruled the state had overstepped its bounds by demanding New Mexico Youth Organized (NMYO) and SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) register as political action committees with the state. If they had done so then all donations to the committee would have been public knowledge.

Kings office claims the groups did more than just educate voters by being too critical of state lawmakers through direct mail pieces.

"This case has never been about the First Amendment, despite misinformation to the contrary. We are not trying to control the content of political ads. We believe, however, that the case has everything to do with voters' having the right to know who is paying for political advertising." King said.

King argued the ruling opens the door for future confusion when dealing with state political action committees and non-profit organizations.

According to the group's Web site, NMYO targets young people for education on issues such as the environment and health care. They also do community projects such as working on farms, cleaning up parks and voter registration drives.

SWOP alleges it has registered 32,000 new voters in an effort to educate communities statewide on issues such as the community participation, environmental justice, economic justice and public participation, according to its Web site.

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