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Is Martinez lobbying or campaigning?

Heath Haussamen

I can’t tell you how many times people complained to me last week while I was in Santa Fe that Gov. Susana Martinez remains in campaign mode during the legislative session. But it was often.

On the flip side, we now have a couple of nonprofits accusing Martinez of breaking state law by using campaign funds to pay for issue advocacy instead of campaigning.

Common Cause and Somos Un Pueblo Unido may very well be right that Martinez is violating the Campaign Reporting Act. I honestly don’t know. The law doesn’t specifically address this situation, and I’m not prepared to interpret it when the attorney general, secretary of state and courts have yet to do so.

But the entire situation raises interesting questions and may indicate that some rewording or tightening of campaign finance law in New Mexico is needed.

SOS, AG looking into situation

As I wrote last week, Martinez put her full weight behind legislation that would repeal a bill that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. That included radio ads paid for by her campaign urging people to call their lawmakers to lobby for repeal of the law (listen here) and robocalls from the state GOP.

In a news release sent late last week, Common Cause Executive Director Steven Robert Allen said the Campaign Reporting Act “places strict limitations on how campaign funds can be used” and took aim at Martinez’s radio ad.


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“Funding this kind of lobbying advertisement seems to be a clear violation of this statute,” he said.

Martinez countered at a news conference last week, according to KUNM radio, that she had nothing to worry about “in the sense of they were campaign funds.”

“Tax dollars were not spent in any way for any of that,” she said. “And in fact the secretary of state has said it was completely appropriate.”

Secretary of State Dianna Duran initially said the expenditure was appropriate, but is now formally considering the question. Attorney General Gary King is also looking into it, according to The New Mexico Independent.

The state GOP was quick to fire back at Common Cause, asking if it approved of a nonprofit headed by state Sen. Eric Griego, D-Albuquerque, lobbying lawmakers.

That raises all sorts of questions. Should lawmakers who are part of the oil and gas industry sponsor legislation that would benefit the industry? Should lawmakers who are educators sponsor bills that favor educators?

All good questions, but not specifically related to the Campaign Reporting Act, so they’re a topic for another time and another column.

Law doesn’t explicitly allow or forbid using funds to lobby

As for the issue of Martinez’s radio ad, Common Cause didn’t explicitly lay out its argument that the expenditure is a violation, but said its conclusion came following a “careful review” of the act.

The act doesn’t explicitly allow using campaign funds to lobby the Legislature, but it also doesn’t explicitly forbid it. What it does allow is use of campaign funds for “expenditures of the campaign” and “expenditures incurred by the candidate when seeking election to another public office.”

One could argue that every time Martinez makes a public push, she’s influencing public opinion of herself, which could be construed as campaigning. The ad’s narrator urges people to call lawmakers and tell them “you agree with the governor.” The ad also lays out why Martinez opposes the law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

So Martinez is primarily engaging in issue advocacy, but there may be a touch of campaigning in what she’s doing. She’s essentially challenging legislators to approve one of her top priorities or face the political consequences of being opposed to the opinions of most voters on a hot-button issue.

In doing so, Martinez is bolstering her own image by promoting the fact that she’s a strong opponent of a law polls suggest most New Mexicans oppose.

A potential gray area in the law

Lawmakers know that’s what Martinez is doing. That’s why they’re complaining that she’s still in campaign mode – and it’s why senators approved a controversial resolution last week aimed at giving them the power to shut down her webcasting of their committees.

So while Martinez is certainly engaging in issue advocacy, is she also engaging in campaigning? It seems to me that this situation illustrates the potential gray area in the Campaign Reporting Act that Duran and King need to consider.

Does Martinez’s lobbying the Legislature, while also promoting her own position on the issue, fit the definition of campaigning in the Campaign Reporting Act?

Time will tell.

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22 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. Mr. Foley:

    I would like to thank you for proving my main points: First, that you are absolutist, demonstrated by your apparent belief that my admission of fault on a single point (something I doubt you would be able to do yourself) is somehow a negation of all points; and second, that you can not tell the difference between disagreements on policy and a personal attack. That you think my comparatively measured tone to be uncivil essentially shows you to be a man who has become regrettably unable to accept any disagreement, and it is thus with much regret that I must refer you to the commentary of Saxton as a brief and sadly accurate assessment of what your political career has become: you have put a great deal of effort into launching sophomoric and vitriolic tirades at nameless words on a screen.

  2. IcarusPhoenix I am not going to rehash every post we have both had here but let me remind you that you were the first to attack and might I also point out your attack was wrong, you even later admitted such. That is the problem I have with you! You make these over the top accusations and try to hold people accountable for their commetns all while you hide in anonymity. If you are so proud of your opinions then own them!

    I am not angry by any means, you can say it all you want but the reality is I am able to answer your attacks of me with facts and logical questions you are the one who had to apologize:

    “I will readily admit that was an assumption on my part. Indeed, with further research this morning, I found that this is one of the few issues in which you tacitly supported Governor Richardson”

    In the end IcarusPhoenix after the annihilation the democrats suffered in the last election I would want to keep my identity hidden as well. I wonder what candidates you helped? Jack Thomas? Michael Trujillo? Nate Cotey? Jeff Steinborn? or any other demcrat that is no longer in office? I guess your “social experiment” has not worked out like you thought?

    In the final analysis IcarusPhoenix it is of no concern to me what you think of me, my comments or my beliefs but I get up every morning owning my comments. I have a job and a family and I am willing to explain my comments to anyone who might question me and I am proud of that. That is what seperates a conservative from a liberal!

    I would suggest you go back and read your posts, I have answered any questions of substance you have asked of me and I have responded even when you have attacked me. What I find rather amusing is your continued desire to attack me all while refusing to let everyone know who you are? For some reason you continue to act like I am attacking or bullying you for asking you to be held to the same standard you choose to hold me to.

    In the end if you truly want to have an intellectual debate about issues you know how to find me I am in the phone book under my actual name. If you wish to have an intellectual debate about issues you would not hide you would stand in the light and be held accountable by the very people you continue to attack and refer to with such distane in your comments. You have made many comments about “civility” during your posts and yet you continue to be uncivil with me?

  3. IcarusPhoenix everytime you opine more and more folks come to agree with me.

    Really? Name them, please.

    The only people who seem to agree with you already did. Indeed, I do wonder if you can recognize agreement, because when I agreed with you (in re: Senate committee webcams), you attacked me for holding the opposite view. Indeed, I actually agreed with you at the beginning of this very discussion, saying that in my view, Governor Martinez has done nothing improper. Unfortunately, for you, agreement apparently must be absolute in order for you not to resort to childish and petty attacks.

    Your frequent participation to this particular community is comparatively recent, so I ask your pardon if I take a moment to explain a few details that, while no one’s business but my own, most people already know.

    First of all, if you are going to obsess over little trivialities like pseudonyms (in place of substantive issues), then perhaps you should take a closer look at their use on this site. With the possible exception of Hemmigway (who may actually be so named), the overwhelming majority of unidentified commenters on this site are conservatives. I find nothing wrong with this – this being the internet – but it does cast your criticism in a delightful new light.

    Secondly, no candidate whom I have worked for has had any objection to anything I have ever written here, and before you leap to the obvious conclusion, I am completely honest about my participation and my online identity; indeed, I include it on my CV as a sample of my writing. It has never (to the best of my knowledge) kept me from being hired, and again, before you leap to conclusions, while I have no compunction taking the offensive, I refuse to work for candidates who delve into irrelevancies, personal attacks, or have a demonstrated history of unethical behavior. Indeed, I have quit campaigns when the candidate had trouble discussing substantive issues.

    Third, while your ego seems to demand that you have intimate knowledge of every person who has the temerity to disagree with you, I am a strategist, not a candidate. I am not a public figure. A pseudonym allows me to exercise my guaranteed right to free speech without taking the spotlight off of any candidate I may simultaneously be working for.

    Finally, while I peruse well over two dozen sources of news and political commentary daily, this is the only one on which I regularly comment. My reasoning for this is twofold: one, due to my profession, this one is far more relevant to me personally; and two, this allows me to test certain arguments myself before I present them as effective arguments for use by someone else (or discard them as ineffectual). I could rather unflattering say that this makes you little more than a guinea pig to me, but that would be neither fair nor accurate. I do so because, when I started commenting here, there were a large number of intelligent, well-reasoning conservative commenters as well, and it allowed me to have a spirited (but civil) debate with people who at least supported their positions without resorting to personal attacks, trivialities, irrelevancies, and persecution complex-inspired tangents. It has been a great asset to me professionally to use the other regular contributors to this site as sounding boards and (more importantly) as indications of what the average politically-savvy conservative is thinking; being as I my sampling of conservatives would be otherwise limited almost exclusively to insiders, I find this invaluable.

    As Heath’s popularity has grown, the number of mudslinging comments from knee-jerk reactionaries has, of course, grown with it. This is unfortunate, but unsurprising. For many of us, such people add a new element to wade through; people who take disagreement as a personal insult, who consider their own personal attacks to be the height of intelligent political discourse, and whose view of the world is so uncompromising that they will misinterpret our statements and argue against their fantasies instead of our positions. While I personally revel in the challenge of attempting to maintain rational discourse in the face of such irrationality (with, I admit, occasionally mixed success), I had hoped that a man in your position and of your experience would not be among those who can not distinguish between reasoned debate and the schoolyard bully; I must say that I am, thus far, disappointed that you have shown no evidence of this.

  4. Dan, stop it. You are proving every one of Icarus’s points with your ridiculous comments. I am embarrassed for you.

  5. IcarusPhoenix everytime you opine more and more folks come to agree with me. Keep up the good work you are the best weapon conservatives on this site have, thank you.

    I take advice from people who are mature enough to stand by there comments, clearly something you are not willing to do.

    Finally before you try to psyco-analyse anyone I would encourage you to read your own posts, you have plenty of work to do at home before you try to assist anyone else!

  6. Well first of all, Mr. Foley, you didn’t just call most of the Founding Fathers cowards, but several subsequent American presidents and statesmen, and several quite good authors. That’s alright though, because it’s fairly clear your grasp of history is tenuous at best. However, I have no intention of comparing myself to them, for any number of reasons, not the least of which being their irrelevance to this particular conversation. Anonymity is not the same as cowardice, and since you lack the psychological ability to understand most debates that you take part in these days (never mind to contribute to them with maturity and reasoning rather than rabid vitriol), it is no surprise to me that my identity seems to be the most important thing to you. This might explain why someone with your notorious temper and unjustified self-righteousness thinks that attacking the sanity of someone is a good idea.

    As for your belief that you’re in control of your temper, we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. As for your grasp of ethics, there are several state employees with AllState supplements to their insurance, an over-due legislator’s license plate, and some auto-centric fighter pilots who can all give evidence against that particular statement. Then again, Representative Kintigh already managed to expose you for all that, didn’t he?

    Mr. Foley, you are not an unintelligent man, but since leaving the legislature, you do seem to have lost your ability to be rational. I urge you to take the following advice (though my guess is your knee-jerk reaction will be to dismiss any advice given from the opposition): If you ever wish to run for office again, you need to tone it down. A lot. Return to addressing issues, rather than turning to everyone in sight who has the temerity to put a “D” after their name and attacking them for nothing more than that. You used to be considered a hell of a debater by your peers and were known for concentrating on substance, but the general consensus is that you’ve traded that all for obsession with the trivial and the irrelevant. You and I agree on very little, but you’re so blinded by your ego that you even attacked me when I agreed with you.

    If you ever get back to discussing issues instead of trivialities (the motives of ineffectual nonprofits, a pointless internal chairmanship fight in the other party, etc.), I will be among the first to welcome you back on the path to relevance.

  7. IcarusPhoenix maybe if I type slow you will understand??????? Using a pseudonym is clearly cowardly, period. If you try to compare yourself to those who used a pseudonym in the past, like our foundeing fathers, your are crazier than I thought.

    I am not sure how asking somoeone who is so “critical” of others to come from behind the closed door and be held accountable for their comments is self-righteous but once again your true colors are shining through brightly.

    You try to say my link proves me wrong? If you take the time to read what is on the web site and s l o w down a little you might understand. They only post links to articles that they believe present Republicans in a poor light. If you believe anything else 9 out of the 10 voices in your heard are talking way to loud.

    As to your personal attacks towards me that is fine, as is typically with most liberals, you can not control yourself and have to resort to name calling when ever anyone confronts you with facts. Keep it up you continue to prove my point.

    In the end the differences between you and me, are many, but one for sure is I have the backbone to be held accountable for what I say, you choose to hide in the dark and fire snark little comments that you are afraid to answer for. Judging by your positions I would probably choose to keep my identity in the dark as well. Coming out and proclaiming yourself a democrat operative really explains your tactics.

    Finally IcarusPhoenix you do not know me. I am in total control of my temper and that is why you choose to attack me. You are admitting by the way you attack that you have a complete inability to discuss issues in a civil tone. That may be becasue you are wrong and know it or maybe you are just plain crazy and you only operate from a point of hysteria? Either way you should seek some help.

    If I am so irrelevant then why do you continue to respond to me? If I am so irrelevant why do so many reputable organizations still ask for my opinon? If I am so irelevant what does that say about you? A person who is so afraid of “accountability” you choose to use a pseudonym? I understand ethics and I would submitt the first step in being ethical is allowing yourself to be held accountable in public, you should try it IcarusPhoenix!

  8. Dr. J:

    The Land Office is still performing an internal audit; have patience.

  9. Well, Mr. Foley, lets start with your rather self-righteous bookends and move from there:

    First of all, that I use a pseudonym is my business, not yours. That you rather arrogantly believe you have a right to my real name shows us just how remarkably self-centered you truly are. There are plenty of people who know my true identity, and none of them seem to have a problem with the American tradition of pseudonyms. Were I an elected official, I would of course use my real name, but I am not. I believe you would describe me as a “democrat operative”, though I will of course be addressing that particular assassination of the English language shortly.

    Strangely enough, you are correct about the issue of lobbying; frankly, since your knee-jerk reaction is to criticize anyone to the left of Orrin Hatch, I will readily admit that was an assumption on my part. Indeed, with further research this morning, I found that this is one of the few issues in which you tacitly supported Governor Richardson; specifically, when ethics allegations were raised about a PNM employee lobbying for an energy bill with state resources. It should also be noted that you are apparently unable to draw a line between your duties to the citizens of New Mexico and making money off of government employees as an insurance agent. I’m fairly certain that your ability to discuss ethics is… limited. Add that to your inability to control your temper or use the English language, it’s no wonder that you can no longer make it through so much as a primary.

    This brings me to the link you provided. I have a question that I truly hope someone will be able to answer: Why do conservatives seem so hell-bent on providing direct evidence that they’re wrong? The link that you gave to prove that Somos Un Pueblo Unido is “partisan” is a page linking to news stories on other sites that address people campaigning for public office and their stances on immigration, and quotes their own positions on the matter… and nothing else. There is no direct commentary and there are no endorsements. Frothing at the mouth and screaming out the apparent epithet of “liberal” every time a fact disagrees with you is hardly the path to relevance.

    Finally, it is “their criticism”, not “there criticism”, and Democrat should be capitalized – to say nothing of the fact that it’s a noun. The adjective is “Democratic”. You have officially failed fifth grade English.

  10. IcarusPhoenix let me start out by challanging you to remove the “nick name” and come forward by signing your real name? Your attacks below loose there effectivness if you are afraid to stand up and be held accountable for your comments. What are you afraid of????????

    Lets look at your comments below:

    Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Foley attacked Governor Richardson for identical actions and that he still doesn’t know the difference between a noun and an adjective. More importantly, he has further demonstrated why his own career has crashed into an irrelevance to equal that which he ascribed to Mr. Bregman’s; if he honestly thinks these two organizations are “run and controlled by the Democrat [sic] party [sic]“, then he apparently spent years in politics without actually learning how the system actually works. He also has a remarkably poor memory (or pathetic research skills): Somos Un Pueblo Unido is an immigrants’ rights organization which was very public in their criticism of Governor Richardson’s handling of the issue, so it’s not like they were the blind sheep he implied.

    Not sure when I “attacked” Gov Richardson for “identical actions”, please point me to the time that he did this?

    Since you are such an enlightned one please educate me as to how the process actually works?

    Somos Un Pueblo Unido is run by democrat operatives who work with democrats to elect democrats, period! There “criticism”, if that is what you want to call it, of Gov Richardson was for the press nothing more nothing less. If you are going to try and get me or anyone to beleive this organization is non partisan then I encourage you and anyone else to go to their web site and read their “Election Watch” tab http://electionwatch.somosunpueblounido.org/ , it sure looks partisan to me?

    Finally IcarusPhoenix come into the light and post with your name? If you believe in what you are saying join the few of us who will post those comments and actually own them. You can attack me all you want and say I don’t know the difference between a “noun and an adjective”, at least I know the difference between owning your comments and hiding from accountability.

    You probably send anonymous letters to people as well?

  11. “…that a court just ruled were violations of public auction laws”. Indeed? Then where are all the indictments of Mr. Lyons? Did I miss that big news???

  12. On a separate note: Dr. J, would you be talking about the “stuff about Pat Lyons” that a court just ruled were violations of public auction laws? Or did you decide to ignore that little detail when it conflicted with your narrative?

    As for gm… well, I’m honestly not sure if there was anything in that drivel to respond to.

  13. Quite frankly, both new_direction and Mr. Foley have the lay of the land more-or-less correct. Campaigning is something that we are stuck with in this profession at every moment. In this particular situation, as it is lobbying for a law rather than providing a public service specific to her office, it is well that the Governor did not spend taxpayer dollars on this campaign. Other than that, she did exactly that which any other elected official in her position has a right to do. However, it is likely that this is a matter which she should have instead created a PAC from which to spend funds for specific issue advocacy.

    Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Foley attacked Governor Richardson for identical actions and that he still doesn’t know the difference between a noun and an adjective. More importantly, he has further demonstrated why his own career has crashed into an irrelevance to equal that which he ascribed to Mr. Bregman’s; if he honestly thinks these two organizations are “run and controlled by the Democrat [sic] party [sic]“, then he apparently spent years in politics without actually learning how the system actually works. He also has a remarkably poor memory (or pathetic research skills): Somos Un Pueblo Unido is an immigrants’ rights organization which was very public in their criticism of Governor Richardson’s handling of the issue, so it’s not like they were the blind sheep he implied.

  14. Every duly elected chief executive from the president on down to a governor or mayor has the implicit power of the bully pulpit. The methods they choose to execute that power is a spoil that goes to the victor.

  15. I am surprised and confused maybe someone heard that Gov Martinez is not running for reelection? You are running for reelection the minute you get elected, this issue was and will be part of her campaign.

    This is a crazy complaint by organizations that are run and controlled by the Democrat party. They loose all crediability since they never once called into question any of the former administrations use of campaign funds.

  16. I think it is also instructive to point out that the Bernalillo County Clerk (Maggie something), is on TV a half dozen times a day with “public service” announcements about voting, etc. Her mug is constantly shown, as is her name (she is the satr and sole person on the ad), and this is not campaign advertizement? We tax payers are paying for her to present herself in person on TV, this is for political purposes and I seem to remember Rebecca got into trouble doing the same things with tax payer monies.

    The two left wing orgnizations complaining about Gov. Martinez have partisan political motives, ‘nuf said there, they are not credible. If she did something wrong, why isn’t the AG going after her? Until he or some other official legal entity does and charges are filed, all this is just partisan political whining. Just like the stuff about Pat Lyons, where’s the beef boys?

  17. Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius

    While a blog commenter is free to state the something is “plainly clear”, the legal determination is up to a judge. Otherwise we could just let JusticeP rule from the laptop.

  18. This is a silly argument.

    An elected official considering re-election, as all but those term-limited are, is by definition a candidate. Funds expended from that candidate’s campaign to promote that candidate and his/her positions is a campaign expense, pure and simple.

    Now, it becomes a little different when that candidate has no intention of running for office again. So, I would love to hear how Bill Richardson spending campaign funds on “travel” and “meals” and “polling” and “salaries” (Amada Cooper for over $10k and Dave Contarino) at the end of 2010 were “campaign expenses,” by the Common Cause definition.

    http://www.sos.state.nm.us/pdf/BillRichardsonDec2010.pdf

  19. was wondering when we’d hear from mt olympus……the greek should be right behind…..really picky stuff the issue of campaigning v lobbying…..sounds like monohan gossip……this choking on virtue is for libs….

  20. Dr. J., please, stop writing arrogant stuff as if you are wide awake and on your second cup of java; spending the night at Holiday Express really does not make you an expert.

    Given a topic about whether the New Mexico governor is using campaign funds appropriately, you mount a defense of her by an irrelevant and historically bizarre attack on Obama. Your defense of Martinez is to imply that, yes, she is guilty, but Obama is even guiltier. First, you should stick to the subject. Two, you should avoid arguments which implicate your favorites. And third, you should get your facts straight. You write, “There is no issue too remote or unimportant to keep him and his well-oiled (financially) “Organizing America” campaign machine from going after. Just look at Wisconsin, Indiana, etc., these battles with his special interests involved see him involved …. — writing a little garbled,. Fact one: Obama has had little to say about the issues in those states. Fact two: the issue of collective bargaining is not one of “his interests” because it has been around a long time and has had the support fo most Americans for decades.

  21. The rule of statutory construction is that “what is not included is excluded.” Inclusio unius est exclusio alterius.

    1-19-29.1. Campaign funds; limitation on use.
    A. It is unlawful for any candidate or his agent to make an expenditure of contributions received, except for the following purposes or as otherwise provided in this section:
    (1) expenditures of the campaign;
    (2) expenditures of legislators that are reasonably related to performing the duties of the office held, including mail, telephone and travel expenditures to serve constituents, but excluding personal and legislative session living expenses;
    (3) donations to the state general fund;
    (4) donations to an organization to which a federal income tax deduction would be permitted under Subparagraph (A) of Paragraph (1) of Subsection (b) of Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended;
    (5) expenditures to eliminate the campaign debt of the candidate for the office sought or expenditures incurred by the candidate when seeking election to another public office covered by the Campaign Reporting Act [11-19-25 to 1-19-36 NMSA 1978];
    (6) donations to a political party or to another candidate seeking election to public office; or
    (7) disbursements to return unused funds pro rata to the contributors if no campaign debt exists.
    B. A judge subject to a nonpartisan retention election or a candidate for judicial office shall solicit or accept campaign funds and return unused funds in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
    C. No contributions solicited for or received in a federal election campaign may be used in a state election
    campaign.

    If “using campaign funds to pay for issue advocacy” is not listed in 1-19-29.1 limitationson use: the rule of statutory construction excludes the allowance of “using campaign funds to pay for issue advocacy” and therefore it is plainly clear the governor violated the statute and is guilty of a misdemeanor.

  22. You need to wakeup and smell the coffee Heath. Face it, elected officials are campaigning for re-election 24/7 from the time they are elected. You need look no further for a role model of this behaviour than DC and Pres. Obama. There is no issue too remote or unimportant to keep him and his well-oiled (financially) “Organizing America” campaign machine from going after. Just look at Wisconsin, Indiana, etc., these battles with his special interests involved see him involved and of course every photo-op and news conference is about his re-election bid. We have many instances here too, Di was always running for Guv when she was light Guv, and our AG (aspiring governor) is also in constant campaign mode today.

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