A cold trail: Contributions & subsidies in New Mexico

The Committee for Economic Development, a pro-business think tank in Arlington, Virginia, recently issued a report claiming New Mexico’s economic stagnation is fueled by “crony capitalism,” which includes favors in exchange for campaign contributions. This piece originally appeared on Follow the Money, a project of the National Institute on Money in State Politics. This piece is […]

The Committee for Economic Development, a pro-business think tank in Arlington, Virginia, recently issued a report claiming New Mexico’s economic stagnation is fueled by “crony capitalism,” which includes favors in exchange for campaign contributions.

shake hand corruptionThis piece originally appeared on Follow the Money, a project of the National Institute on Money in State Politics. This piece is shared through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics decided to examine campaign contributions from the ten companies that benefited most from state subsidies in New Mexico, using a list provided by Good Jobs First. The examination revealed that, by and large, these companies were not major contributors to New Mexico candidates and party committees. However, several were leading contributors within their respective industries.

Political Contributions Made by Subsidy Recipients

Broadly speaking, these subsidy recipients were not among New Mexico’s top campaign contributors. For example, ConocoPhillips gave slightly less than $300,000 during the 14 years analyzed, and was outpaced by 47 other contributors. Intel ranks 226th on the list of state-level contributors in New Mexico. Hewlett Packard, meanwhile, ranks 303rd with $57,280 in donations. In fact, 2012 was the sole year in which any of these donors were among the top 20 state-level donors; ConocoPhillips gave $77,000 that year, the 12th-largest contributor total.

Three of the ten companies gave little or no money, despite collectively receiving $252.9 million in state subsidies. Schott AG, a producer of industrial glass products, is prohibited from giving campaign contributions because it is headquartered in Germany. Sony also cannot make political donations as a Japanese corporation, but its American entertainment subsidiary does not shy away from state-level contributions, and none have landed in New Mexico since 2000. Another entertainment giant, Lions Gate Entertainment, made only one contribution: $1,000 to former Gov. Bill Richardson in his 2006 reelection bid.

Table 1: Subsidy and State-Level Contribution Totals for the Top 10 Recipients of State Subsidies in New Mexico, 2000-2014
Companies Subsidy Total Contribution Total
Intel Corp. $2,659,370,233 $76,650
Forest City Enterprises $500,000,000 $36,100
Schott AG $132,218,712 $0
Lions Gate Entertainment $114,657,976 $1,000
Eclipse Aerospace $100,931,363 $12,250
Hewlett Packard $17,825,543 $57,280
Sony $6,022,693 $0
ConocoPhillips $5,073,933 $299,950
Fidelity Investments $5,016,829 $26,250
Verizon Communications $4,791,494 $49,957
Total $3,545,908,776 $559,437

Important Donors Nonetheless

Although not among the major donors, five of New Mexico’s foremost subsidy recipients were some of the most generous contributors within their respective industries. For example, Hewlett Packard led the pack of electronics manufacturing and services donors in New Mexico from 2000 through 2014. ConocoPhillips was fourth among oil and gas donors, and Intel held the same rank among computer equipment and services donors. Only four telecommunications donors outpaced Verizon Communications. And Forest City Enterprises may not be a prolific real estate donor in New Mexico, but one of its subsidiaries, Forest City Covington, gave the fourth-largest industry total ($209,849).

Of interest, the political giving of this group is seemingly on the rise, even with the recent enactment of contribution limits in New Mexico. From 2000 through 2010—a period in which contributors operated without limits—these ten companies’ collective total increased by an average of almost $18,000 each election cycle. Beginning in 2011-12, donors were prohibited from giving more than $5,000 to statewide candidates and political parties, and $2,300 to non-statewide candidates. In that cycle, these subsidy recipients contributed $148,250, their largest total since 2000 and $28,258 more than the previous cycle. The collective total dipped to $52,601 in the 2013-14 cycle, but this was an election without state senate contests and a rather uncompetitive gubernatorial race. Contribution limits likely did not play a role, as very few donors reached the new limits in 2012.

Figure 1: State-Level Contributions From Top 10 Recipients of New Mexico State Subsidies, by Election Cycle, 2000-2014
Figure 1: State-Level Contributions From Top 10 Recipients of New Mexico State Subsidies, by Election Cycle, 2000-2014

Conclusion

All told, these subsidy recipients were clearly not the state’s most prominent campaign donors. Political donations only carried so much weight, given that just one of these subsidy recipients cracked the list of top 50 contributors in New Mexico from 2000 through 2014. Still, it is hard to ignore the prominence of some subsidy recipients within their respective industries, as well as the 2012 spike in contributions.


Help spread this story by sharing on Facebook or Twitter now.

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List endorses seven candidates for Legislature

Emily’s List, a nonprofit that supports women candidates and reproductive rights, endorsed seven incumbents facing general election opponents in New Mexico legislative elections. All…
Equality New Mexico endorses 15 legislative candidates

Equality New Mexico endorses 15 legislative candidates

A New Mexico-based LGBTQ rights organization endorsed 15 candidates for state House and Senate seats for the 2024 elections.  Marshall Martinez, executive director of…
Lujan Grisham pocket vetoes two bills

Lujan Grisham pocket vetoes two bills

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pocket vetoed two bills the legislature passed this legislative session: one changing the Cybersecurity Act and the other concerning law…
BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a new rule Friday governing onshore oil and gas production that advocacy groups say will help protect…
Court hears arguments in oil and gas pollution case

Court hears arguments in oil and gas pollution case

A district court judge heard arguments Friday about whether to dismiss a lawsuit that could have major implications for the oil and gas industry…
Feds announce final renewable energy rule for public lands

Feds announce final renewable energy rule for public lands

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a final renewable energy rule Thursday that is expected to pave the way for increased wind, solar…
Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

Amid new graduation requirements, what do high schoolers want to learn?

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican The main things that bring Brayan Chavez to school every day: Seeing, talking to and engaging with…
Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

Special ed teachers hope lawmakers OK pay raises, admin changes

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican Brittany Behenna Griffith has a laundry list of adjectives to describe the ideal special education teacher:…
Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

Lawmakers must find consensus on competing education spending plans

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican A challenging task awaits New Mexico lawmakers in the next 30 days: Reconciling three very different…
Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission

Amy Maxmen, KFF Health News Four years after hospitals in New York City overflowed with covid-19 patients, emergency physician Sonya Stokes remains shaken by…
Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Lujan Grisham, Biden admin announce $10 million in federal funds for tribes, pueblos

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Friday $10 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act was awarded to six tribal nations and…
Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

Proposal to curb executive powers moves to House Judiciary

The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee discussed a potential constitutional amendment that seeks to limit the governor’s executive powers. The committee approved…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

While the U.S. Supreme Court considers the future of access to the abortion medication, mifepristone, another lawsuit against the FDA that would expand access…
Senators introduce legislation to aid abortion providers

Senators introduce legislation to aid abortion providers

Sen. Martin Heinrih and other Senate colleagues introduced abortion rights legislation into the U.S. Senate on Thursday. The Abortion Care Capacity Enhancement and Support…
How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

How the AZ Supreme Court decision on abortion impacts New Mexico

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that an 1864 abortion ban is enforceable, throwing another state bordering New Mexico into the situation of…
The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

The status of the lawsuit New Mexico joined to remove FDA restrictions to mifepristone

While the U.S. Supreme Court considers the future of access to the abortion medication, mifepristone, another lawsuit against the FDA that would expand access…
Senators introduce legislation to aid abortion providers

Senators introduce legislation to aid abortion providers

Sen. Martin Heinrih and other Senate colleagues introduced abortion rights legislation into the U.S. Senate on Thursday. The Abortion Care Capacity Enhancement and Support…
Politics Newsletter: Early and absentee voting

Politics Newsletter: Early and absentee voting

Good morning fellow political junkies! Early and absentee voting for the June 4 New Mexico primary begins in about a month. The nonprofit election…
San Juan County, Navajo Nation settle redistricting case

San Juan County, Navajo Nation settle redistricting case

The Navajo Nation and San Juan County reached an agreement Monday about commission districts after the tribe alleged that its members were not adequately…
MIT ranks NM elections most well-run in the U.S.

MIT ranks NM elections most well-run in the U.S.

New Mexico’s 2022 election was ranked most well-run in the country by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Election Data and Science Lab’s Elections Performance Index.…
BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

BLM increases what companies must pay to extract oil and gas 

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced a new rule Friday governing onshore oil and gas production that advocacy groups say will help protect…
What the low unemployment rates for months means for NM’s economy

What the low unemployment rates for months means for NM’s economy

Post-pandemic, New Mexico has had an extended run of low unemployment rates. New Mexico’s unemployment rate has remained stable at 4.0 percent since October…
Feds announce final renewable energy rule for public lands

Feds announce final renewable energy rule for public lands

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a final renewable energy rule Thursday that is expected to pave the way for increased wind, solar…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report