New Mexico’s campaign finance reporting system could use plenty of improvement.
That’s evident this week in KOB’s series on campaign finance, in which the Albuquerque station reported Monday it found nearly $151,000 in discrepancies between contributions reported by lobbyists to 10 House and Senate leaders and contributions reported received by those leaders.
In many instances, lawmakers told KOB, the checks were from lobbyists’ clients and were reported as such.
New Mexico In Depth reported that problem in a September story about lobbyist campaign contributions. The story noted that lobbyists weren’t always clear about who actually gave a donation. For example, donations by the top giver, lobbyist J.D. Bullington, and “those of many other lobbyists don’t always list the clients on whose behalf the contributions were made. Limited cross-checks of candidate filings indicate candidates often list contributions from the businesses that donated, not the lobbyists who delivered the donations.”
In other instances, lobbyists listed a lawmaker’s name as the recipient when the donation actually was to a political action committee operated by House Speaker Don Tripp, a Socorro Republican, or Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, a Belen Democrat.
New Mexico In Depth looked at those individual contributions and clarified the recipients of the donations in a searchable database it published.
At the time, Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director Viki Harrison said such instances call for more specific disclosure by lobbyists.
Several lawmakers, such as Senate Minority Whip William Payne, R-Albuquerque, asked why KOB didn’t ask lobbyists about the discrepancies in campaign finance reports.
The station’s series continues Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so perhaps that question will be answered.