How NMID collected and analyzed New Mexico public lobby spending

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Here’s how New Mexico In Depth analyzed lobbyist spending by public entities in the state:

  • Scraped the lists of lobbyists and employers from the Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Information System.
  • Searched the lists for employers that were cities, counties, colleges, universities, secondary schools or other government entities. We also searched lobbyist registrations at the federal level for clients based in New Mexico or clients with the words “New Mexico” in their title.
  • Sent public information requests to the entities on our lists asking for contracts and payments to specific lobbyists, as well as any others, including staff members, paid to lobby at the state or federal level.
  • Relevant data on clients, lobbyists, titles, pay and expenses were entered into a spreadsheet.
  • Responses were uploaded to DocumentCloud,  with pertinent data tagged and double-checked in the spreadsheet.

Some caveats about our process and the data:

  • Our list may not be all-inclusive. We probably missed some charter schools that don’t have the word “school” in their names, for instance. There may be other governmental authorities we missed as well.
  • Lobbyists listed are typically those who signed the contracts. Sometimes they may be working in teams with partners or subcontractors. Those partners are typically not listed in NMID’s data unless their names are included in the contracts. The exceptions are lobbying teams Marla Shoats and Dan Weaks, and Natasha Ning and Drew Setter.
  • For some organizations, 2014 is fiscal 2013-14 and 2015 is fiscal 2014-15 from July of one year to June of the next. In other instances, contracts are on a calendar basis. At the state level, 2014 always includes the 30-day session held that year and 2015 includes the 60-day session held earlier this year.
  • Contract amounts are typically used, with monthly fees multiplied by the number of months in the contract. In other instances, the amounts listed are based on actual payments made by the public entity.
  • Gross receipts taxes are typically not included in the analysis. Most contract lobbyists charge gross receipts taxes in addition to their annual or monthly fees. In some instances, however, the taxes are rolled into the monthly fee, so they are included.
  • In the data table we’ve tried to link to specific provisions in contracts in DocumentCloud. That wasn’t always possible, so some links are to general contracts or payment documents.

Here are the documents our research turned up:

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