Less than a week after new Republican Majority Leader Nate Gentry (R-Abq.) began making the media rounds alleging a former Democratic leader improperly let lobbyists use Roundhouse office space for personal business, Gentry’s own conference room was full of lobbyists Thursday afternoon – complete with a “reserved by [lobbyist] Joe Thompson” sign on the door.
ProgressNowNM captured pictures of lobbyists Joe Thompson hosting meetings in Gentry’s conference room Thursday afternoon between 2:30 and 3:30 pm.
The office space is labeled the “Majority Conference Room Only” and is in the suite of offices run by Majority Leader Nate Gentry.
The sign taped to the door says “reserved by” the lobbyist, not reserved for him or a legislator, indicating that new Republican leaders have given the lobbyist rights to reserve and use public office space in their suite.
As ProgressNowNM watched, Thompson freely came and went several times. One meeting (pictured above) adjourned shortly after 3pm. Thompson was then joined by lobbyist Marc Saavedra for a new meeting, this time with the door closed (the “reserved by” sign remained.
In a story that aired three days ago, Gentry told KOB-TV’s Chris Ramirez that the former Democratic leader broke the state’s Governmental Conduct Act because ‘ “two lobbyists who happen to be the former Speaker’s donors were using Capitol office spaces as their private lobbying offices,” said Rep. Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). ‘
Lobbyist Joe Thompson is an ongoing contributor to Gentry’s campaign accounts, giving $512 in 2013 and $200 in 2011. His lobbying company, Thompson Associates, has also contributed to the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico as have his clients, including the NM Health Care Association which contributed $2,500 to the Republican Leadership PAC.
“Let’s see if Gentry will file an ethics complaint on himself,” says Patrick Davis of ProgressNowNM. “Gentry’s allegations were leveled without any proof and vehemently denied by Speaker Martinez and everyone Gentry named. This case is different because there are pictures, and even a sign showing the leader gave a lobbyist the ability to reserve Republicans’ private office space. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as the saying goes.”
Republican leaders spent days pushing their unsupported allegations to reporters around the state. Help us be sure those same news outlets know you want them to cover this story, too.
Here’s political blogger Joe Monahan‘s take:
State House Majority Leader Nate Gentry says point blank that lobbyists Natasha Ning and Drew Setter were given a card key to a capitol office by then House Speaker Kenny Martinez, but Martinez and the lobbyists flatly deny the charge. So where’s the proof that they had a card key and why hasn’t someone asked for it?
And what’s with this? ProgressNowNM reports GOP lobbyist Joe Thompson on Thursday took over the Majority Leader’s conference room along with a gaggle of other lobbyists just days after Nate was busting Kenny. Here’s the hypocrisy watch:
Less than a week after Majority Leader Gentry began making the media rounds alleging a former Democratic leader improperly let lobbyists use Roundhouse office space for personal business, Gentry’s own conference room was full of lobbyists Thursday afternoon – complete with a “reserved by [lobbyist] Joe Thompson” sign on the door. ProgressNowNM captured pictures of lobbyist Joe Thompson hosting meetings in Gentry’s conference room Thursday afternoon between 2:30 and 3:30 pm.
Things have been going nice and smoothly for the R’s in Santa Fe so why did they throw firebombs over something that could also set flames on their own trousers? Well, old habits are hard to break. Will Speaker Tripp put the leash on Nate in response? Or is this his rodeo, too?
And what of the media that has faithfully reported Gentry’s allegations? Will they also report on lobbyist Thompson’s camp-out in Nate’s digs? Well, we won’t hold our breath.
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