The University of New Mexico, like many political entities, has been spending a lot of money at the New Mexico Legislature, or at least, the lobbyists they’ve hired as consultants have.
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office a lobbyist is someone who is compensated to influence “official action,” which includes legislation.
Lobbyists are legally required to publicly disclose their spending three times a year (in January, May and October). This includes both the amount they contribute to campaigns, and their expenses on the job.
However, there’s a pretty large loophole in the disclosures. If a lobbyist spends less than $100 at a time, they don’t have to tell you what they spent it on, who they spent it on, or who they were working for when they spent it.
These small expenditures can add up to thousands of dollars, typically disclosed as lunches or dinners.
UNM hired three lobbyists for the 2019 session — Joe Thompson, Daniel Lopez and Mathew Muñoz. Last year, Arthur Hull (who is not registered as a lobbyist for 2019) also worked for the University, and filed a report for January 2019.
Below are results from the latest filings, which covers spending from Oct. 2 through Dec.31, 2018.
Joe Thompson — Spent: $26,386.94
- Works for: American Council of Engineering Companies, Apartment Association of New Mexico, Circle P of New Mexico, LLC, City of Albuquerque, Comcast Cable Communications LLC, Eastern NM Rural Water Authority, Enterprise Products Company, Laguna Development Corp., New Venture Fund (CSME), Sacred Wind Communications, Scientific Games Corporation, The GEO Group, Inc., The Gordian Group, The Nature Conservancy, Thompson Consulting, LLC, Turning Point, and University of New Mexico.
$2,236.94: Various “Legislative Luncheon/Dinner Meetings” under $100.
$24,150: For candidates Paul Bandy, Kelly Fajardo, Patricio Ruiloba, Gregg Schmedes, Georgene Louis, Jimmie Hall, Candie Sweetser, Joseph Sanchez, Jim Trujillo, James Townsend, David Gallegos, Larry Scott, Randal Crowder, Phelps Anderson, Jack Chatfield, Harry Garcia, Senate Majority Leadership Fund, PAC22, Steven Neville, George Muñoz, Carlos Cisneros, Pete Campos, John Sapien, Sander Rue, William Burt, John Arthur Smith, Carroll Leavell, Gay Kernan, all on behalf of the private-prison giant GEO Group Inc. One donation to Gail Chasey Re-Elect on behalf of self.
Daniel Lopez — Spent $6,750
- Works for: New Mexico School for the Arts, RiskSense, Inc, University of New Mexico, and UNM Retiree Association.
$1,000.00: Governor’s Ball Committee
$5,750.00: Campaigns for Brian Egolf, Michelle Lujan Grisham (3), Ben Ray Lujan and John Arthur Smith all on behalf of self.
- Largest single contribution: Oct. 17, 2018 $2,500 for Lujan Grisham on behalf of self.
Mathew Muñoz — Spent $0.00
- Works for: Full-time employee at the University of New Mexico
Arthur Hull — Spent $47,598.01
- Worked for (in 2018): 3M Company, American Medical Response, Century Bank, Davita, Devon Energy Corporation, Fidelity Investments, FPL Energy, LLC (Nextera Energy), GlaxoSmithKline, Greenwich Biosciences, Inc, HME Specialists LLC, Hull Consulting LLC, Maximus, Inc, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Native Trading Associates, New Mexico Child Care Educational Association, Pew Charitable Trust, Physicians for Fair Coverage, PNM, SAS Institute, SBH-El Paso LLC dba Peak Behavioral Health Services, Smith Bagley, Inc dba Cellular One of North East and University of New Mexico.
$5,598.01: “To inform and discuss concerns with elected officials,” with various officials in payments not exceeding $100 on behalf of Hull Consulting.
$42,000: Campaigns or public issue for Prosperous New Mexico, New Majority, Affordable Energy, Sharon Clahchischilliage, Kelly Fajardo, Brad Winter, David Atkins, Lisa Shin, Rod Montoya, James Strickler, Jacob Candelaria, Monica Youngblood, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Antonio “Moe” Maestas, Liz Thompson, Gail Chasey, Daymon Ely, Joanne Ferrary, Doreen Gallegos, Linda Trujillo, Jim Trujillo, Sheryl Williams Stapleton, Debra Sariana, Henry Garcia, Rudy Martinez, Deborah Armstrong, Nathan Small, Candie Sweetser, Wanda Johnson, Georgene Louis, Brian Egolf, Mary Kay Papen, Peter Wirth, John Arthur Smith, Clemente Sanchez, Stuart Ingle, Mimi Stewart, Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez all on behalf of Hull Consulting.
- Largest single contribution: Dec. 30, 2018 paid $5,500 to Lujan Grisham on behalf of Hull Consulting.
So how much is the University paying?
The Daily Lobo attempted to obtain consulting contracts for the years 2013 through 2017. However, only one record was given for each lobbyist; or, in the case of Muñoz, no record was provided.
Thompson’s contract shows he was hired for consulting at a fee of $99,000 per year as of 2015, the latest record available.
Hull was paid for a duration of of April 1 through March 31, 2016 a consulting fee of $4,083.33 per month.
Muñoz’s contract from years 2013 through 2017 was not said to not be available according to a letter from the Records Custodian.
Lopez’s contract agreed to pay for consulting services for $41,000 and spanned Jan. 1, 2017 until March 31, 2017.
All the lobbyists are also compensated for NM Gross Receipts Tax (NMGRT).
According to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue department, NMGRT where the buyer of services (in this case the University) compensates the seller of services (consultants) for five percent of the total price of the services.
Despite fewer lobbyists, reported spending quadrupled last year — the highest by far since lobbyist contributions started being tracked in 2013.
Information compiled from the Campaign Finance Information portal on the state SOS site.
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Danielle Prokop is a senior writer for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ProkopDani.