January 28, 2010

Mike Montandon's funny money

Score one for campaign disclosure laws:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mike Montandon accepted a $10,000 donation from a foreign company last year, a violation of federal campaign finance law.

The former three-term North Las Vegas mayor said Tuesday that he will return the donation, after the Las Vegas Sun flagged it and others on a recent finance report that appeared to be from foreign sources. The contribution was one of five from Hong Kong-based donors identified in the newspaper’s analysis of gubernatorial campaign finance reports last week.

Without strong and robust disclosure laws, illegal campaign contributions like this could slip by unnoticed.

Given Nevada's terrible record on campaign disclosure laws, it is amazing this was discovered at all:

In 2008 Nevada ranked 45th among the states in public disclosure efforts, according to the Campaign Disclosure Project, a joint effort from the UCLA School of Law, the Center for Governmental Studies, and the California Voter Foundation. Nevada was one of 10 states last year that received an “F” from the group based on the adequacy of its campaign disclosure laws, thoroughness of its electronic filing program and accessibility of disclosures, including online resources.

But, in this case at least, the system did work. Hopefully this serves as a lesson to other politicians.