Political committees active in the May 2 special election filed their second campaign finance reports today, and $800,000 from Big Soda threatens to swamp the city in anti-tax ads, mailers and door-to-door efforts.
Better Way for Santa Fe & Pre-K, the anti-tax group funded almost exclusively by the American Beverage Association and the local Coca-Cola distributor, received $700,000 from the ABA during the two weeks between March 23 and yesterday. After spending nearly $600,000 in the election, the group had $200,000 in cash ready to be spent.
Pre-K for Santa Fe, run by local political consultant Sandra Wechsler and Albuquerque politico Eli Il Yong Lee, took in just $950. The group's man contributions came in the form of a $180,000 digital media buy paid for by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, an ardent advocate for soda taxes. Bloomberg also kicked in $53,000 for research. Organizing in the Land of Enchantment—OLÉ—paid for roughly $62,000 in other campaign activity. Pre-K's cash on hand totaled $1,400.
In recent days, the city told two groups that were running or planned to run radio ads that they had to file campaign finance reports. Smart Progress New Mexico and the Rio Grande Foundation both oppose the tax and both claim they don't have to file campaign finance reports. At the close of business, neither group had a report posted on the city clerk's website.
The two main groups had to file their first finance reports on March 23, and Better Way's cash and in-kind contributions totaled $317,000. The group spent $96,000 on out-of-state political consulting.
Pre-K for Santa Fe took in $234,000. That total included $100,000 in cash donations from OLÉ. Bloomberg donated nearly $100,000 worth of research and media buys. Pre-K spent $43,000 on its political activities.
Read the reports here.