New Mexico PACs bring in big bucks

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New Mexico political action committees have raised nearly $15.8 million and spent more than $14 million in the two years leading up to Tuesday’s election.

Those PACs have bought TV and radio ads, sent mailers, paid for robocalls and polls.

New Mexico In Depth analyzed fundraising and spending for 2015 and 2016 through Nov. 1 for state-registered PACs.

Excluded were the two state party committees; Act Blue, a conduit PAC for donations to candidates; and South-Central PAC, a union group that only sends money to a parent group in Washington, D.C.

Advance New Mexico Now, a super PAC operated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s top advisers, is the top money raiser and spender. As a super PAC, Advance may take unlimited contributions. It makes independent expenditures that aren’t supposed to be coordinated with candidates or political parties.

Texans contributed 38 percent of Advance New Mexico Now’s money, New Mexicans contributed 16 percent and Washington, D.C., political groups contributed 15 percent.

That’s in contrast to Susana PAC, the governor’s committee that has a limit of $5,400 in contributions for both the primary and general election. That committee primarily donates to candidates and pays for polling and political strategy for GOP candidates.

New Mexicans contributed 64 percent of Susana PAC’s cash, while Texans contributed 22 percent.

Patriot Majority New Mexico is the top Democratic super PAC, with 93 percent of its money from unions based in Washington, D.C.

Here’s a look at the top 15 PACs in terms of fundraising from 2015 through Nov. 1:

Advance, Patriot Majority and Susana PAC are also the top spending PACs.

Here are the top 15 spenders:

Where is all that money going? Some of it goes to candidates and other PACs.

But more than $4 million went to 10 top vendors, with McCleskey Media Strategies at the top.

That firm does consulting work for Advance and Susana PAC, which provided most of the revenue. Jay McCleskey is Martinez’s primary political adviser.

Public Opinion Strategies, a national firm that employees McCleskey’s wife, is also in the top 10.

Much other spending went to media buyers such as Buying Time, SRCP, Bouchard and Mundy Katowitz for TV, radio and digital ads.

ALLS is the top Democratic consultant, doing work for House Democratic political action committees.

Here’s a look at the top 10 vendors:

New Mexico doesn’t require political action committees to specify what contests they’re spending money on when they make independent expenditures for TV, radio, mailings or other activity.

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