The new finance reports are out and conservative PAC spending continues to dominate New Mexico’s political landscape.
In June, you may recall, we released a report on the expansive network of conservative PAC spending in NM that the Journal’s Thom Cole overlooked in his article about Democratic PAC spending. (Incredulously, Mr. Cole ended his report by stating that, “Republicans don’t appear to have a similar large web of interacting PACs.” As our report showed, nothing could be farther from the truth.)
For years, we at ProgressNow New Mexico have tracked the influence of right-wing money throughout New Mexico. In our report linked to above, we tracked a shady network of eight Republican-backed PACs who spent more than $216,000 for Republican candidates since January alone. Adding in the $300,000+ spent by the governor’s Susana PAC in 2014 before these latest finance reports were filed, the right-wing network of PACs spent more than $500,000 supporting conservative candidates across NM.
For an infographic detailing the right-wing spending of NM’s conservative PACs, see below. But here are some of the highlowlights from the last fundraising period:
The Republican State Leadership Committee PAC took in $5,500 dollars, mostly from out-of-state individual donors, and then turned around and gave $5,230 to the Committee to Elect John Sanchez. Sanchez, of course, is the Lieutenant Governor and, since his constitutional responsibilities are rather limited, his role in the 2014 elections seems to be as a pass-through for out-of-state Republican money – during the last finance period, Sanchez gave $1,000 each to Republicans Aubrey Dunn (running for Land Commissioner) and Secretary of State Dianna Duran (who’s running against Democratic challenger Maggie Toulouse-Oliver.)
The National Federation of Independent Business NM Save Americas Free Enterprise Trust (NFIB) purports to be an advocate for small businesses but is actually a front for big business lobbying. They’ve combatted everything from minimum wage increases to collective bargaining to paid sick leave for employees. The NFIB claims to be non-partisan, but their 20 contributions in NM over the last finance period went exclusively to Republican house candidates. (Learn more about the Koch Brother-affiliated NFIB from SourceWatch HERE)
Advance New Mexico Now, a brand new conservative PAC run by former Republican District Attorney Matt Chandler, brought in a total of $227,550.00 in contributions during the last period, with a $100,000 contribution coming from the D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee and another $100,000.00 from a Texas real estate developer. So much for the grassroots.
And, of course, Governor Martinez’s SUSANA PAC was busy over this past period, spending tens-of-thousands of dollars on media and advertising though Red Tag Strategies and Jay McCleskey’s media firm.
In all, the total expenditures from these PACs over the last period totaled $174,069.56. In 2014, PACs supporting Republicans have spent $701,000 to support a Republican takeover of the State House. And that doesn’t count 501c4 “dark money.” A national GOP-backed 501c4 group recently announced that it would spend money to directly support 9 top-tier Republican house candidates. That money is generally not reported publicly.
The total cash-on-hand for these groups (meaning how much money they could spend right now) is $474,792.43.
On the left, PACs supporting Democrats are raising money to fight back. In 2014 they’ve spent just over $614,000 to defend the onslaught. They reported just over $675,000 cash-on-hand this period. They are led by the Ken Martinez (Speaker of the House) Leadership Fund and Patriot Majority New Mexico. Other PACs led by various Democratic members posted just over $10,000 total this cycle.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The 2014 elections are about nothing less than Republican control of the State House and these conservative PACs are hell-bent on making that a reality. Republicans were just ONE VOTE short of the majority needed to pass horrible bills in the last session.
Our research and advocacy helped to kill two ALEC-backed bills in this last session. And our report on ALEC idenfified more than ONE MILLION dollars donated to legislators from ALEC member corporations in the past two campaign cycles.
It’s clear the right-wing mission is taking back New Mexico for right-wing special interests.
Our mission is saving it.
-Pat, Marsha, Alex, Nate & Rachael (the ProgressNowNM team)
Of course there is a fundraising ask – that’s how we keep doing what we do. Unlike Susana PAC or the vast network of right-wing PACs putting personal agendas ahead of working families, ProgressNowNM doesn’t receive dollars from big oil companies or big business Super PACs. We are supported by New Mexicans working to move New Mexico forward – Is that YOU? Help us push back on the GOP, the Journal and the conservative agenda targeting our NM. Donate here.