Janice Arnold-Jones complains about a lack of super PAC transparency and accountability; Gary Smith says Sen. Tom Udall’s motive for trying to overturn Citizens United is protecting his own job.
Today starts a series of posts on the U.S. Senate and 1st Congressional District candidates’ stances on various policy issues.
Janice Arnold-Jones says the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which tossed out limits on political spending by corporations and unions, has been “detrimental to our electoral system,” while Gary Smith opposes efforts to overturn the court’s decision.
“The Citizens United decision confines our right to free speech, instead of protect it,” Arnold-Jones said. “We have seen a rise of super PACs since this decision, which undoubtedly has less transparency, less accountability and more unpredictability than any campaign committee in the United States.”
“It does not surprise me that a career politician like Senator Tom Udall would want to limit the free speech of New Mexicans by amending our United States Constitution,” Smith said. “He has no trouble taking ‘special interest’ money from PACs, but now he wants others to play by different rules giving new candidates a disadvantage.”
Arnold-Jones said a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United isn’t necessary, but what’s needed is “leaders who are willing to take on campaign finance reform.”
The Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat in Congress made their comments in response to questions from NMPolitics.net about the influence of money in politics and ethics reform. NMPolitics.net gave the candidates no word minimum or limit, telling them to say what they had to say. The only criterion was that they not engage in personal attacks.
Here are the questions NMPolitics.net asked on money in politics and ethics reform:
- The influence of money in federal races is arguably becoming more and more pervasive, especially with the Citizens United decision and the new prominence of super PACs. Do you view this as a good or bad thing? Why?
- Sen. Tom Udall and others are proposing a constitutional amendment that would restore the government’s ability to regulate campaign finance. Do you support that proposal? Why or why not?
- What ethics and transparency legislation would you push if elected?
Their responses, published in their entirety:
“The Citizens United decision has been detrimental to our electoral system. I am always apprehensive when people begin to define exactly what constitutes free speech and what doesn’t. It seems as though every time they come to a conclusion all it does is confine free speech to a smaller parameter than before. Our right to speak our minds has been granted by our creator and secured by our Constitution. The Citizens United decision confines our right to free speech, instead of protect it. We have seen a rise of super PACs since this decision, which undoubtedly has less transparency, less accountability and more unpredictability than any campaign committee in the United States.
“We do not need a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign finances. Congress already has the power to do that. We need to elect leaders who have the courage and backbone to do what is right. We need to elect leaders who are willing to take on campaign finance reform and think about how it affects the American people, not about what it will do to their next re-election bid.
“As a member of the minority party I pushed open the doors of the Roundhouse when I took a webcam into the Legislature. It is time that we get serious about the reforms we need to bring to Washington. I believe that we need to make it easier for Americans to access unclassified documents. I also believe, with the exception of the budget, that every piece of legislation needs to be limited to one issue. No log-rolling, no earmarks and no non-germane attachments to any bill any time!”
“New Mexicans’ voices deserve to be heard, and New Mexicans should be free to support the candidate of their choosing. They choose to support candidates in various ways, from volunteering hundreds of hours making phone calls, stuffing envelopes or walking door-to-door. Others wish to contribute financially within their means.
“It does not surprise me that a career politician like Senator Tom Udall would want to limit the free speech of New Mexicans by amending our United States Constitution. He has no trouble taking ‘special interest’ money from PACs, but now he wants others to play by different rules giving new candidates a disadvantage. Changing the rules for other people is what career politicians do to protect their own jobs, and it’s wrong.”