Blogger's Note: Here's some information I collected from the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office for NM Common Cause. It's a small piece of the work I'm doing, along with interns Jarrett Hines-Kay and Jonas Armstrong, for a forthcoming Common Cause report on lobbyists.
New Mexico lobbyists and their employers spent $488,296.74 to influence, entertain and feed New Mexico legislators, according to reports filed since January with the Secretary of State’s Office. The amount does not include campaign contributions, which are banned during the session.
The largest spenders among the lobbyists were:
•George Brooks, lobbyist for Ski New Mexico Inc, who gave out $27,750 worth of ski passes to 111 legislators and other officials
•Michael Bowen, lobbyist for the NM Mining Association, who hosted a $20,954.68 dinner for legislators at the Santa Fe Hilton on behalf of that group and spent $2,500 for the 100 Bill Party at the Santa Fe Convention Center
•Steven Henke, lobbyist for the NM Oil and Gas Association, who hosted a $17,638 dinner for legislators at the Bull Ring
•Scott Scanlan, lobbyist for 24 clients including Altria Tobacco, BHP Billiton Oil, Sunland Track and a number of cities, who spent $11,892.30 on meals, beverages at special events for legislators and their staffs at the Coyote Café, Restaurant Martin, Vanessie and the Bull Ring
•Art Hull, lobbyist for 15 clients including PNM, Devon Energy, Glaxo Smith Kline pharmaceuticals and Fidelity Investments, who spent $10,502 for meals and other events at various locations “to inform and discuss concerns with elected officials.” (No specific legislators or clients were disclosed)
•John Christopher, lobbyist for Comcast Cable Corporation, who spent $10,277 for a dinner “for all Senators and Representatives” at Restaurant Martin
The largest spenders among lobbyists’ clients were:
•The Center for Civic Policy, which spent $29,574 on mailers, phone banks and radio ads
•The NM Golf Tourism Alliance, which spent $28,500 on golf passes for legislators
•The University of NM, which spent $20,643 including $12,042 for a UNM Alumni Assoc. reception for legislators at La Fonda; $1470.17 for basketball jerseys for senators in the House Senate charity basketball game, and $4,311.39 for “education/advancement/goodwill/hospitality” to various legislators
•Presbyterian Health Plan, which spent $11,137 on its annual appreciation dinner for legislators at La Posada
•The Baptist Convention of NM, which spent $7,822-- $4422.04 on a prayer breakfast for legislators and $3,400 on gifts to New Mexico legislators (recipients and amounts unspecified)
•The Conservation Voters of New Mexico, which spent $4,710 on a legislative reception for all legislators at the Rio Chama
The New Mexico Gift Act, passed in 2007, bans lobbyist gifts of more than $250 to individual legislators and gifts of an aggregate value of $1,000 to any one legislator during any one calendar year.
Data collection was difficult because lobbyists often report only aggregate expenditures and do not report on whose behalf the expenditures were made or the specific actions being lobbied.