Behind the curtain of the Koch operations: local campaign disclosures provide window on Koch campaigns (if you know where to look)

Charles and David Koch spent $960 million in the 2016 elections, mostly on campaigns attacking progressive candidates and causes.  But because much of that money flows through non-profits and PACs, their fingerprints are often hard to identify and their playbook is even harder to pin down. But thanks to some of the country’s most progressive campaign disclosure laws, their local Americans for Prosperity chapter disclosed their ads, scripts and spendings in recent local elections – if you know where to find it. Since ProgressNow New Mexico started in 2011 we’ve been tracking the influence of corporate-backed right-wing astroturf organizations who come into our state trying to influence our elections. The Koch Brothers and their affiliated organizations – Americans for Prosperity and the LIBRE Initiative – are some of the worst offenders. They do this in a variety of ways.

[Sign Thank You Card] Maggie Toulouse Oliver says ‘no’ to giving our personal voter data to Trump’s sham panel

Maggie Toulouse Oliver was among the first secretaries of state to say no a request from Trump’s sham voter fraud panel for the personal social security numbers, voter history and personal data of more than a million New Mexico voters. At least a dozen chief elections officers around the country have since joined. “I will never release the personally identifiable information of New Mexico voters protected by law, including their social security number and birthdate. Further, I will not release any other voter information like names, addresses or voting history unless and until I am convinced the information will not be used for nefarious or unlawful purposes, and only if I am provided a clear plan for how it will be secured. As New Mexico’s Chief Election Official, I will continue to ensure the integrity of our elections while protecting the voting rights and personal privacy of our voters.”

 

When President Trump announced his Advisory Commission on Election Integrity earlier this year, Secretary of State Toulouse Oliver released this statement:

 

“If President Trump truly wants to boost Americans’ confidence in the integrity of our elections, he should stop making false claims of rampant voter fraud.   President Trump’s voter fraud allegations are simply not true and they are doing real damage to our democracy.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, AG Balderas, ABQ Mayoral candidates to headline ProgressNow Progressive Summit

Albuquerque – More than 300 elected officials, community organization leaders and progressive activists will convene on Saturday at the New Mexico Progressive Action Summit for New Mexico’s largest day of political action. The one day event, hosted by ProgressNow New Mexico, pairs elected officials and community members/voters to develop policies and bills to be introduced at the legislature and in local governments statewide. US Senator Martin Heinrich will provide the opening keynote address and Attorney General Hector Balderas will welcome attendees.  Other headline events include a welcome from Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and a Albuquerque Mayoral Candidate Forum where each candidate will present a five-minute “TED talk-style” speech on the topic of “My big idea to change Albuquerque.” This will be the first time declared candidates and persons considering running will be featured together ahead of 2017’s mayoral election.

Progressive Women Won Big in New Mexico

On the National level, women made fewer gains than expected in the new Congress, though there are some great stories – including big gains for women of color in the US Senate.  

The number of women of color in the U. S. Senate quadrupled over night. https://t.co/Wm0zqePYwV
— Emerge New Mexico (@EmergeNM) November 9, 2016

That’s good news, but not nearly far enough to be equal. In Washington, women make up a meager 20% of members in the House and Senate, combined. With both the House and the Senate in Republican control, the issues and concerns of women are on the table. Here at home, organizations like Emerge NM have been recruiting and training women to run for office to make up the difference.

The top 5 WORST things from #NMLEG 2016

It’s almost here; the final day of the 2016 legislature. As always, the battles inside the Roundhouse this year were hard fought. Sadly, though, the trend of New Mexico Republicans being completely and laughably out-of-touch with the needs of ordinary New Mexicans continued unabated this year. From new Secretary of State candidate Rep. Nora Espinoza trying to legalize discrimination and gut wages for construction workers, to male Republican lawmakers trying to insert the government into private decisions about women’s reproductive health, to a House committee chairman claiming that people in New Mexico don’t understand real poverty (!), Republican legislators proved again this year that they’re living in a different universe. But guess what?

It’s competence vs. crazy in the 2016 SOS race

Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) is running for Secretary of State. You read that right. The same woman who wants to legalize discrimination, ban Mexican-American history books in public schools, and let ALEC write New Mexico’s laws now wants to occupy one of the most important public offices in New Mexico. (She’s also the chair of the House Education Committee where she has a history of silencing dissent or discussion of opposing views in her committee.)

It’s impossible to think that someone who’s expressed so much close-minded extremism over the years could possibly represent the office well and execute it with the fairness and equality the office demands. And Espinoza’s campaign has already gotten off to an inauspicious start: an ethics complaint was filed against Espinoza on Monday in response to Espinoza’s publicly funded legislative website being used to campaign for that very office.