Six billion dollars.
That's how much is estimated will be spent nationwide on political campaigns for the 2012 election.
Some Las Cruces city councilors think it's getting out of control and want it to change.
Earlier this year, the council created an ad-hoc committee to look into changing the election code to create more government transparency and make it easier for the public to access campaign finance records.
As proposed now, candidates would have to report any contributions or campaign spending of more than $25. Candidates would also have to report where the name and address of the individual or organization that donates more than $25.
The committee all political advertisements would have to name what organization paid for it on the ad itself.
Councilors said these changes are important and timely.
Campaign finance records would also be kept longer - two years instead of six months - making it easier for the public to see that information.
Most of the debate so far came from deciding what to do with campaign donations that are left over once the campaign is done, and if there should be a maximum amount on donations.
The committee proposed having candidates zero out their campaign accounts at the end of each election. The candidates would have to either give contributions back to donors or donate the money to non-profit organizations.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima proposed allowing candidates to use that money for future campaigns.
No decision was made on that topic.
Las Crucens in attendance cited concerns about outsiders influencing local elections with big money.
"I look at the local level as the one place where we could really do something about campaign finance. It is really upsetting to know that lots of money can be coming from other cities to influence who our local people are," said Bonnie Burn, a Las Cruces resident.
"The only way we reform anything is we have to take some hard steps to do that. I didn't hear anyone of you in your conversation say we need to put a cap on what you spend in a campaign for office. If you want to make change make it an equal playing field," Las Crucen Roy Camunez said.
The city attorney said the city can not legally impose a maximum amount on campaign donations because of precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are still many issues councilors want to straighten out before they vote the changes in.
Council will hold another work session in November. They hope to have these changes finalized and in place by next year's municipal elections.