Republicans took twice as much lobbying money from New Mexico’s lobbyists and their corporate employers as their Democratic counterparts last year, a new analysis published at New Mexico In Depth shows.
“New Mexico In Depth reported last fall that contributions from lobbyists helped Republicans win the state House for the first time in 60 years. Lobbyists donated more than $427,000 to House Republican candidates in 2013 and through the Nov. 4, 2014, election. The amount contributed in 2015 from employers is about $130,000 more than donations made by employers in 2013,” NMID reports.
And those corporate donors and lobbyists appear to be getting what they paid for.
Again, from In Depth:
“Lobbyist Jack Milarch Jr. gave $105,000 on behalf of Builders Trust of New Mexico, which provides workers compensation insurance to members of the New Mexico Home Builders Association. Of that, $100,000 went to 19 Republican lawmakers or PACs and $5,000 went to six Democratic lawmakers.
Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday asked lawmakers to consider legislation that would reduce workers compensation benefits if an injured worker was intoxicated when an accident happened. House Bill 63, which would carry out that effort, is sponsored by Rep. Dennis Roch, R-Logan.”
The report also noted that the top donor, Devon Energy, is an oil and gas company which has given “$158,000 to 20 candidates or PACs, all of them Republican.” Under the current Republican administration, oil and gas production in New Mexico has exploded and the administration has been criticized for failing to oversee the industry as required by law.
A 2013 investigation by the Albuquerque Journal found that the state had issued 474 electrical inspection permits for oil and gas drill sites without ever sending an inspector to check the safety of those locations.
Last year, Republican House Majority Leader Nate Gentry of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights sponsored legislation to prohibit local governments from banning oil and gas practices in their communities. An oil company is now proposing an oil well in Rio Rancho.
Read the full NM In Depth story from Sandra Fish here.