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FEC v. Democratic Party of New Mexico (02-0372)


On April 29, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico issued an Order and Judgment finding that the Democratic Party of New Mexico (DPNM) and Judy Baker, as its treasurer, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) by:

  • Using a nonfederal account that contained corporate and union funds to make disbursements for public communications in connection with the May 13, 1997, special general election in New Mexico, which was held solely to fill a vacant House of Representatives seat (2 U.S.C. §441b(a) and 11 CFR 102.5);
  • Making contributions to, and coordinated expenditures on behalf of, the Friends of Eric Serna (the Serna Committee) in excess of the combined statutory limit (2 U.S.C. §§441a(a)(2)(A) and (a)(d)(3)); and
  • Failing to report certain coordinated party expenditures made on behalf of the Serna Committee (2 U.S.C. §434(b)).

The court also found that the Serna Committee knowingly accepted direct and in-kind contributions from DPNM in excess of the combined limit in connection with the May 13, 1997, special election. 2 U.S.C. §441a(f).

The court permanently enjoined DPNM and Ms. Baker from using funds from a nonfederal account[1] to make disbursements for communications that urge the public to vote in special elections in which only federal candidates are on the ballot and from violating the limits and reporting requirements for coordinated expenditures. The Serna Committee is permanently enjoined from knowingly accepting any excessive contributions in connection with a special federal election. 2 U.S.C. §441a(f). DPNM and Ms. Baker (in her official capacity as treasurer) must pay a $60,000 civil penalty and must transfer $86,900 from the DPNM’s federal account to its nonfederal account.


[1] This portion of the Court's Order and Judgment does not apply to DPNM’s use of Levin funds. See 11 CFR 300.32(b)(2).

Source:   FEC Record — June 2005; July 2002