Cowboys for Trump fends off financial disclosures
By Morgan Lee, Associated Press, SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Time is running out before Election Day as New Mexico election regulators push the political support group Cowboys for Trump to disclosure its financial backers.
The horseback-riding, New Mexico-based support group for President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged a U.S. District Court not to dismiss its lawsuit challenging state financial disclosure requirements. A trial could stretch into late 2021.
The group was co-founded by Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin to support Trump on a variety of conservative themes, including gun rights, border security and opposition to abortion. The group says less-onerous federal campaign finance laws override recent New Mexico legislation aimed a greater financial transparency for independent political expenditure groups.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, says Cowboys for Trump has ignored a binding arbitration agreement that found it was a political committee, subject to state registration and financial reporting requirements.
The group, also known by its C4T insignia, compared its plight in new court filings to the travails of the NAACP during the civil rights movement as Alabama sought unsuccessfully for disclosure of names and local addresses for members of the nation’s oldest civil rights group.
“The NAACP showed that past release of its membership lists had exposed members to economic targeting, loss of employment, physical coercion, and other forms of hostility,” attorneys for Cowboys for Trump said.
Griffin’s political and legal troubles have mounted amid criticism of his comments that some Black NFL players should “go back to Africa” if they want to stand for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” — traditionally known as the Black national anthem — as a gesture of solidarity against racial injustice.
Griffin later said the recorded comments, which he posted live on social media, led the reelection campaign for Trump to distance itself from Cowboys for Trump.
A judge in parental custody disputes later barred Griffin from in-person visits with his son following social media posts that generated threats and for refusing to abide by COVID-19 mask requirements. In September, Griffin was banned from a Native American reservation by the Mescalero Apache Tribe after Griffin posted a video in which he joked about politics during a solemn blessing ceremony.