Lawmakers can look forward to some golfing once the legislative session ends, thanks to $28,000 in gifts from the New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance.
That’s just a portion of the nearly $250,000 lobbyists have reported spending on lawmakers during the session through March 8. The number only includes spending of $500 or more at a time, which lobbyists or their employers are required to report to the Secretary of State within 48 hours.
But some lobbying groups question what must be reported now or later when more comprehensive reports are due in May.
For instance, neither ProgressNow New Mexico nor Everytown for Gun Safety has reported spending on canvassing to encourage support of House Bill 50, which would expand gun background checks in the state.
Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, noted such activity Monday in questioning a bill that would have required lobbyists to report what measures they lobbied on and the positions they took. Sanchez voted against the measure, which was tabled by the Senate Rules Committee.
Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow, acknowledged the canvassing.
“Everytown has given a grant to ProgressNow to canvass their members,” Davis said. “They’ll report it according to their rules.”
A spokeswoman for Everytown said the group’s lobbyists won’t report the spending until May.
“We have provided a grant to support this work for $12,500,” Mackey Reed wrote in an email. “It will be part of our spending report after the legislative session ends.”
The National Rifle Association last month reported spending more than $44,000 on a digital campaign aimed at defeating HB 50.
Meanwhile, lobbyists haven’t reported spending on several items that were on the social calendar or mentioned by lawmakers, including the 100th Bill Party on Feb. 24, a dinner at the Bull Ring sponsored by the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges on Feb. 23, and a reception at Rio Chama sponsored by New Mexico Health Care Executives on March 2.
New Mexico In Depth tried to contact lobbyists affiliated with some of the events, but hasn’t heard back.
Other recently reported spending included $4,468 for a House Appropriations and Finance Committee dinner at Coyote Cafe on Feb. 27 sponsored by the Lensic Performing Arts Center and reported by lobbyist Mark Duran.
Lobbyist John Anderson reported spending $4,020 on the same committee on Feb. 11, but his report didn’t say what the spending was for, where it took place or which of his 11 clients sponsored the spending.
And Stephanie Ly, the president of the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico, reported spending $2,118 for an appreciation lunch at Picolino Italian restaurant.
Here’s a look at the spending reported thus far: