Haussamen: Governor on Slippery Slope

Heath Haussamen
NMPolitics - Though the secretary of state says it’s legal for Gov. Susana Martinez to blur the line between lobbying the Legislature and campaigning, the situation has me questioning whether Martinez’s actions match with her campaign rhetoric about ethical behavior. Early in the current legislative session, Martinez started webcasting legislative committee hearings on her bills and using the video to promote her views. She angered many lawmakers by showing selective parts of some hearings and including commentary about how committee members voted. Taxpayers paid for that lobbying. The webcasting is being done by the webmaster in the governor’s office.
Governor Martinez
The video is being published on Martinez’s official government website. But another aspect of Martinez’s lobbying effort was paid for with campaign dollars. As part of her push to pass a bill that would repeal the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, Martinez ran radio ads urging people to call their lawmakers and tell them to stop blocking the bill. A couple of nonprofits complained that such use of campaign money violates the state’s Campaign Reporting Act. Secretary of State Dianna Duran says the expense is legal. I’ve already written that the blurring of the line between campaigning and lobbying exposes a potential gray area in the law and may indicate the need to tighten language in the Campaign Reporting Act. Read full column here: News New Mexico



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