Republican Gov. Susana Martinez this week returned $25,000 in campaign contributions to the former owner of a chain of abortion clinics and his wife after SFR inquired about donations the pair made directly to the governor and to her separate political action committee, SusanaPAC.
Edward Allred founded a large chain of privately held abortion clinics, Family Planning Associates Medical Group, based out of California. In 1980, he was quoted in the San Diego Union as saying "Population control is too important to be stopped by some right-wing pro-life types."
"Take the new influx of Hispanic immigrants," he told the paper. "Their lack of respect for democracy and social order is frightening. I hope I can do something to stem that tide. I'd set up a clinic in Mexico for free if I could. Maybe one in Calexico would help. The survival of our society could be at stake."
Martinez campaign spokesman Danny Diaz writes to SFR on Oct. 22 that the governor "strongly disagrees with previous comments made by Mr. Allred."
"As such, she has decided to return the donations made to her re-election campaign and political action committee," he writes.
Known as "Doc" by some, Allred is also part-owner of the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino in Lincoln County—which has contributed $5,000 to SusanaPAC. His wife Charmay is a prominent figure in the Santa Fe art scene.
The donations were included in the latest round of campaign disclosures that show Martinez, who raised $2.4 million in the six-month reporting period between April 2 and Oct. 7, is well-poised for a reelection battle. She has $3.3 million cash on hand.
With just over $175,000 in donations during that period, Martinez' most moneyed opponent is Attorney General Gary King. He has over $142,000 cash on hand. State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, raised just over $25,000 for her gubernatorial bid.
While the motivation of those politicians is to win elections, what drives individuals and businesses, many from outside the state, to sink thousands into the state's gubernatorial race is less clear. "What do those people have invested in New Mexico and what are they expecting to get for those contributions?" asks Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. She says the organization is releasing a report this week that will connect the dots between lobbying, campaign contributions and state legislation.
Martinez' strongest contributors include oil, gas and mineral interests, which contributed tens of thousands to the governor and SusanaPAC. Many of her contributors have money tied up in New Mexico. Some have contracts directly with the state.
Campaign disclosures show Gov. Martinez raised $2.4 million between April 2 and Oct. 7.
Notably, Virginia-based K-12, Inc.—which supplies content for New Mexico Virtual Academy—donated $5,000 to Martinez this reporting period, making that at least $11,000 the company has donated to the governor and her separate political action committee over the years.
A political action committee affiliated with Deloitte—one of the world's largest professional service firms—donated $20,000 to Martinez and SusanaPAC this reporting period. According to the state's Sunshine Portal, agencies and departments under Martinez' administration have doled out over $56 million to Deloitte Consulting LLP for information technology and professional services provided by the company. The company is helping the state implement Obamacare.
"Governor Martinez is proud of the fact that 54 percent of the contributions to her campaign were for $100, or less," Martinez political advisor Jay McCleskey writes in an email. "In contrast to the 2,317 contributions Governor Martinez received from New Mexicans, most of which are for $100 or less, Gary King received less than 150 contributions from New Mexicans."
"We fully anticipate special interest groups will spend millions of dollars in an attempt to return New Mexico to the failed policies
of Bill Richardson," he writes.
Big out-of-state contributors to King include three national unions—which contributed $6,600 in total—and attorneys from the east coast and Texas.
"For one they are the people that I know that have a little more capacity to write a bigger check," King tells SFR of his out-of-state contributors. "And so I think that some of the bigger donors that I have are people that indeed I have met through working through, you know, the national AGs' organization and such."
Campaign manager Jim Farrell emphasises those connections.
"Those are people that know Gary," he says of King's donors. "They like him. They support him. They like what he stands for and what's he's done...when I look at Susana Martinez' donors, I'm sorry, I have a very different view of those people."
Notable King donors include Bill Robins, a partner in the Texas-based firm Heard Robins Cloud & Black, who contributed $5,200 to King in September. King's office had hired the firm to represent New Mexico in a lawsuit against Eli Lilly that accused the pharmaceutical company of improperly promoting an antipsychotic drug. The state settled with the company for $10.5 million in 2009.
Observers have noted that King is faced with an inherent conflict of interest in his capacity as the state's top law enforcement officer who also happens to be a declared candidate against the incumbent governor. King's office recently issued a press release that boasted that King secured a $5.2 million settlement with Chevron Corporation over allegations that it falsified applications in order to access taxpayer money. Chevron Corporation has contributed at least $5,000 to Martinez.
That's not to say that King doesn't collect money from the energy sector. He pulled in $2,300 from people who listed their occupations in the oil and gas industry. Perhaps more: his campaign filing didn't list the occupation of 80 contributors.
One thing's certain: political operatives also rely on campaign contributions made to their candidates. It's also the source of consultants' paychecks and gives them money to spend on their message.
The governor's campaign committees paid McCleskey Media Strategies $106,999 in the six-month reporting period. King's campaign spent $16,000 on campaign manager Farrell in the same period.