- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico watchdog group issued a report card Wednesday that grades state legislators on their support of reforms for expanding campaign finance disclosures, voter registration opportunities and government ethics oversight.

The online report card from Common Cause New Mexico sums up each lawmaker’s voting record on three bills and two constitutional amendments during the legislative session that ended in March, including committee votes. Active sponsorship of the initiatives earned legislators extra points.

Common Cause Legislative Director Heather Ferguson wants citizens to see more clearly where lawmakers stood on issues the group considers critical for good government. She said lawmakers were advised when the session started that they would be graded.

The monitored initiatives were aimed at greater financial disclosures by independent political groups and lobbyists, automation of voter registration, and the creation of independent commissions on redistricting and political ethics complaints. Four initiatives failed or were vetoed, while voters will decide on the ethics commission in November 2018 elections.

Democratic state Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque touted his highest-possible grade by Common Cause in a twitter post on Wednesday.

Republican state Sen. Craig Brandt of Rio Ranch received the lowest possible rating after voting against efforts to create an independent ethics commissions and new campaign finance disclosures.

He said constituents deserve to know that he voted against the ethics commission because it could become a forum for publicizing false accusations against elected officials.

“You end up voting against a bill that in principle you want to support but there’s a problem with the bill,” he said.

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