Methodology for June 2018 analysis of Oil & Gas/Conservation election spending

New Mexico In Depth downloaded campaign data from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website for candidates and political action committees. The data was narrowed to contributions and expenditures made in 2017 and 2018. We sorted that data, and supplemented with searches on the internet and our own,  to compile these figures:

Total Oil and Gas$1,594,137
Given to Candidates$1,002,040
Given to Pacs$592,097
Given to Steve Pearce$305,663
Given to  Michelle Lujan Grisham$28,000
Total Conservation$864,541
Given to Pacs$802,081
Given to Candidates$62,460
Given to Michelle Lujan Grisham$13,500
Given to Steve Pearce$0


Oil and Gas contributions

The oil and gas industry figures include producers and refiners, as well as oil services companies. We did not include utilities, or renewable energy organizations. This means almost half a million dollars spent by utility PNM in the final days of the election aren’t included.

New Mexico requires a range of information to be reported about each contribution and expenditure made to or by a political candidate or committee. To compile this data, NMID primarily utilized the following categories: Company name, Last name, Occupation, and City.

For Oil and Gas contributions, search terms were oil, gas, refinery, energy, drilling and petro in company names and occupations. We also searched for oil and gas company names, and sorted by city name to isolate areas of the state with high concentrations of oil and gas production. Search results were reviewed using a combination of internet searches and personal knowledge.

Conservation contributions

Compiling contributions to candidates from conservation and environmental advocates is more difficult than an industry like oil and gas. Environmental advocacy is largely centered within nonprofit organizations that don’t make political donations. We did not include renewable energy in this category because there’s not a clear overlap with environmental advocacy, although the industry is often championed by environmentalists.

Search terms to candidates were limited to “conservation”, because the word “environment” and it’s variations are used both in the conservation and Oil & Gas sectors. We did include a person if they were identified as an environmentalist. We also utilized personal knowledge of people to include their contributions to candidates, primarily a small set of known nonprofit leaders.

The bulk of conservation contributions to political committees were made to two groups contributed to by prominent environment organizations, and we included all contributions to those PACs. We did not include PACs that capture other progressive or labor advocacy.


We identified a small amount of contributions to candidates made by PACs that received oil and gas or conservation contributions. We reduced the PAC figures by those amounts, which were relatively minor, so as to not double count money. We reduced the amounts to PACs rather than candidates because we thought it important to show money that candidates control. We also excluded ActBlue in the PAC analysis, which is a pass through entity listed as a PAC in the reports for donations to Democratic candidates. The ActBlue dollars should be captured in candidate reports.