From dinner to reception to golf promotion, lobbyists reported spending about $ 195,000 on legislators during the 2020 session, according to New Mexico state secretary.
But ethical experts say that there are important holes in what the state requires lobbyists to disclose.
The data currently available show only costs of $ 500 or more during the session, and a fuller report will not be available until May. But even the more detailed documents do not require information on which bill lobbyists were supporting – or were being abducted and told by lawmakers.
“You are left there as a legislator thinking about what really is going on,” said Sean Jeff Steinborn, who Las Cruces Democrat, who has been fighting for more years in recent years.
Steinborn introduced legislation in previous sessions which would require lobbyists to disclose the lobbying bills so that people can get a “full picture of the forces at work” in the Roundhouse.
There are also many other holes in current reports. The New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance reported spending $ 28,000 on “golf promotion” for state legislators February 5, but the telephone number it provided on the lobbying form relates to the New Mexico State University golf course.
The general manager said he picked up the phone on Thursday that he didn’t know what it was and that New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance didn’t know what he could spend $ 28,000 during the session.
“We don’t have a golf tourism alliance as far as I know,” said General Manager Jason White.
The telephone number, the Presbyterian Health Plan, which was included on its lobbyist form filed with the state secretary, was disconnected when New Mexico called Thursday.
“Welcome to Verizon Wireless,” he said. “Your call cannot be completed as a dial.”
Presbyterian did not reveal how dinner was invited for $ 16,094.23 on 22 January for “Monasteries and NM guests” at the Santa Fe Hilton, nor did he indicate whether he was lobbying a particular bill or issue.
The phone number that LES, a Nebraska-based energy company, called, without anyone picking up. LES spent $ 2,231 on dinner Jan 27 at the Anasazi Inn. It was reported that 14 legislators were invited, most of them Republican Secretary, as well as Energy Secretary, Minerals and Natural Resources Sarah Propst and Secretary of the Environment Department Jim Kenney. Other applicants included President Te Tem President Mary Kay Papen and Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle.
It is not clear which pieces of legislation the company was lobbying because it is not bound to say it.
The lobbyist Michael Bowen reported spending $ 20,769.11 on a reception and dinner on 11 February at the invited Santa Fe Hilton “All Legislators”, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Lt Governor Howie Morales.
But the report did not say whether Bowen was working or what organization was hosting the dinner. Bowen has four employers: New Mexico Mining Society, New Mexico Municipal Series, Artesian Pecos Valley Conservation Area and The Emissary Group, LLC.
Bowen did not return a phone call Thursday.
Lack of exposure in political lobbyists’ reports can taste and cause political and disappointing contempt, said Heather Ferguson, director of Common Cause of New Mexico.
Many believe that everyone is spending money during the session, ”said Ferguson.
“We know that this is not the case,” she said, “the members of the community have lost their faith and trust, and these little buttons are exactly what happens to the t rebuild that trust. ” t
Some of the organizations that produced reports were available when contacted.
Demis Foster, executive director of Conservation Voters based on Santa Fe New Mexico, said the 29 January event was an annual event which was sent by its organization at the Inn & Spa at Loretto to award the legislator to Luminaria to the legislator who sent preservation reasons promotion. The group spent $ 17,182.36 on the event.
Foster said that the event was not aimed at supporting any specific piece of legislation but that the organization talked about its “big vision priorities”, such as climate policy and protecting the environment.
“Our organization is transparent about what we do with the Legislature,” she said. “I think transparency is a good thing.”