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.

[WATCH] Sandoval County commission takes first steps to enact Koch anti-union law; right-to-work fights move from Roundhouse to counties

We reported earlier this year about the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity and their meddling in ALL levels of New Mexico politics.

An update to the current situation of their involvement in things they shouldn’t be involved in shows that Sandoval County is the current target for a Right-To-Work ordinance to be forced onto New Mexican families. 

Late last week, the Sandoval County Commission held a heavily attended meeting about imposing a county level Right-To-Work ordinance.  Thursday night’s meeting was filled with supporters from Sandoval County at large, including Representative Damon Ely who spoke in opposition to Right-To-Work, emphasizing the educational opportunities and fair wages that unions provide in a state in dire need of these things.

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?

Harvard Econ. Professors: Here’s how to evaluate Right to Work laws’

Paul Gessing asked for “research-based ideas” about “right to work.”  We’re happy to oblige.  And he doesn’t have to take our word for it.  Last spring, two of the country’s most preeminent labor economists — Richard Freeman at Harvard University and Paula Voos at Rutgers University — published a summary of “right to work” research designed to help the public distinguish between “rigorous” and bogus research.  

Freeman and Voos cite five studies as examples of serious research — these studies show that “right to work” succeeds at weakening unions and lowering wages, but does nothing whatsoever to boost job growth.

Alan Webber: Legislature can do a lot to get state’s economy moving

By Alan Webber, former Democratic candidate for governor and Santa Fe entrepreneur:


The legislative session is here. While there are many issues that deserve some attention, there is only one crisis that demands everyone’s focus: The dismal condition of the New Mexico economy. We all know the same facts: high unemployment rate, low job creation rate, high poverty rate, shrinking population. We all also know that New Mexico has enormous untapped potential. Our future is hiding in plain sight.

Anti-worker onslaught is coming. Here’s what you need to know.

Here we go again. Republicans are gearing up to bring their out-of-date, out-of-touch, anti-worker trump card to the New Mexico legislative session again this year: so-called “right to work.”

If you haven’t heard, Gov. Martinez declared yesterday that she would allow so-called “right to work” bills to be heard during the upcoming legislative session. Last year ProgressNow NM was at the forefront of the fight to defeat “right to work” as we exposed the tangled web of half-truths and conservative “sugar daddies” propping up these anti-worker bills. One of our staff people was even denied his right to speak during a committee hearing on “right to work” because the Republican committee members simply didn’t want the public hearing the truth about where these bills come from and what they’re really meant to do (big business special interests and to weaken progressive power, respectively). Business site selectors see “right to work” laws as “old thinking,” the Chamber of Commerce’s own members don’t think it’s a priority, workers make less in states with these laws, and the amount of jobs these laws would effect is small considering only 5.7% of New Mexico workers belong to unions.

ALEC Climate Deniers Deny Denying Climate Change, Threaten Legal Action Against Common Cause

We here at ProgressNow NM (and our affiliates around the country) have been on the forefront of the battle with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the conservative corporate lobbying group. We’ve outed previously-unknown ALEC members within the state legislature, revealed ALEC policies conservative New Mexico politicians were trying to pass off as their own, and shed light on the way this shady group operates within our state. CLICK HERE to catch up on our ALEC Watch programs
There were large-scale corporate and individual defections from ALEC a few years ago after a sustained campaign from a number of progressive groups across the country began telling the truth about ALEC’s harmful agendas (“Stand Your Ground” laws that allowed George Zimmerman in Florida to go free; a sustained focus on privatizing pretty much everything; “Right to Work” laws; etc. etc.). But you may have missed that earlier this week Common Cause — the non-partisan good government group — became the latest potential victim of ALEC’s big money machine.

What is “Preemption” and Why is Nate Gentry Obsessed With It?

1. the purchase of goods or shares by one person or party before the opportunity is offered to others. 2. the action of preempting or forestalling, especially of making a preemptive attack.  

You may have heard the word “preemption” floating around the world of New Mexico politics lately like an annoying gnat you can’t quite see but won’t seem to leave you alone.

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 03-12-15

As the 2015 legislative session marches on, economic issues are playing a major role. The contrast between conservative and progressive principles regarding economic development can be seen in numerous bills. Progressives have introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage, increase job training programs, increase teacher salaries, increase tax credits for working families, cap predatory loan interest rates, and create more tax fairness throughout the state (among many others). (By the way, every one of those bills has met fierce resistance from conservatives in the legislature.)

Conservatives have focused (predictably) on bills that reflect their you’re-on-your-own economic ideology, leaving working families out to dry in favor of bolstering the profits of special interests and big out-of-state corporations. Reducing unemployment insurance benefits, resisting minimum wage increases, making it harder for disabled workers to receive compensation, anti-worker “right-to-work” bills, and reducing corporate income tax rates have all been conservative hallmarks during this session.