By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
City Clerk Leighann Melancon remembers one election season when a candidate, possibly in an attempt to push other candidates toward transparency, submitted a list of campaign contributors and expenditures.
“We said, ‘That’s really nice, and we appreciate it,’” Melancon said, “‘but it’s not required.’”
Clovis voters will elect a municipal judge and four city commissioners Tuesday.
The candidates running for those seats can reveal as much or as little as they want about who’s giving them money, according to Melancon.
Recently, some commission candidates giving interviews posted on cnjonline.com declined to identify donors.
The state code defines a contribution as, “a gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or other thing of value, including the estimated value of an in-kind contribution, that is made or received for a political purpose, including payment of a debt incurred in an election campaign.”
Also, according to the code, “No anonymous contributions may be accepted in excess of $100, and the total amount of anonymous contributions received cannot exceed $2,000 for statewide races and $500 for other races.”
But move down to the municipal section, and the word “contribution” doesn’t appear. It doesn’t apply at all, according to Melancon.
It’s one of a few things covered on the state level, Melancon said, but not on the municipal level.
Changes to the municipal elections code can only be made by an act of the state Legislature.
The financial benefit for a successful campaign varies.
All city commissioners receive an annual stipend of $7,000.
Mayor Gayla Brumfield receives an $8,000 stipend.
The next elected municipal judge will receive a raise from $40,000 to $67,607 annually.