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.
A gun control advocacy group that poured $216,500 into New Mexico’s 2016 legislative elections is finding at least one of its beneficiaries is a tough sell on expanding background checks for gun sales. Everytown for Gun Safety donated $5,000 to then House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, last June. The group also sent a mailer supporting Gentry, who is now the minority leader after Democrats regained control of the House. But late Friday, Gentry joined other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee in voting against House Bill 50, which would require background checks at gun shows or online, including gun sales by private individuals. After extensive debate in two committees, the measure next goes to the House floor.
Reported lobbying efforts to influence New Mexico legislators neared $178,000 this week. A new big spender took over, as the National Rifle Association spent more than $44,000 on an internet campaign aimed at stopping two gun background check bills. That effort created by Starboard Strategic is aimed at generating public opposition to House Bill 50 and Senate Bill 48. Lobbyists and their employers are required to report any spending of $500 or more within 48 hours during the legislative session. That typically encompasses dinners, breakfasts, receptions and gifts doled out to lawmakers, as well as interest group spending such as the NRA’s.