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Friday, May 28, 2010

Republican PAC Donated to Dem House Challengers, DPNM Urges Candidates to Return Funds

On campaign filing reports released yesterday, three Democrats reported receiving $4,000 dollars each from the New Mexico Turn Around PAC, which was founded by NM Republican Party Chairman Harvey Yates -- a wealthy, Albuquerque-based oil man. Documents show that the PAC is funded in large part by entities related to Yates and his family. Furthermore, Ryan Cangiolosi, Executive Director of the Republican Party of New Mexico, is listed as Treasurer of the NM Turn Around PAC.

The campaigns in question are all contested Democratic primary races for State House seats. Each of the candidates listed below received $4,000 from NM Turnaround PAC to challenge Democratic incumbents:

“I don’t understand how any Democrat can take money from the Republican Party," said State Rep. Eleanor Chavez in a statement released today. "I’m amazed that my opponent is financing his appeal to Democratic voters with thousands of dollars from the Republican Party Chairman. What does this say about his values and the sincerity of his message?” 

DPNM Weighs In
Scott Forrester, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, released this response late this afternoon, revealing that he's urged the Dem recipients to return the funds:

“It’s unfortunate the NM GOP has decided to get involved in our primaries since they have a hard enough time winning their own seats on their own merits. We have asked all 3 candidates to return the money. Thus far only Candidate Mathew Archuleta has committed to pay back the $4,000 to NM Turn Around."

What's Been Raised
The NM Turn Around PAC has raised about $17,000 this election cycle. Two donations came from Yates-related holdings -- including $8,000 from PetroYates, owned by the Yates family, and $3,000 from the Jalapeno Corporation (Yates Petroleum), owned by Harvey Yates. Ryan Cangiolosi, the Executive Director of the NM GOP, just happens to be the business manager of Jalapeno.

Jim Bohlander, a member of the Republican Party of Santa Fe's Central Committee, gave $5,000. Another $1,000 came from none other than the Aragon Law Firm -- the firm of Robert Aragon, who has been removed as a Democratic ward chair in Bernalillo County because he is openly supporting the Republican challenger for Rep. Martin Heinrich's House seat in NM-01. Curiouser and curiouser.

The Financial Largess of Right-Wing Interests
NM Turn Around was also heavily involved in state legislative races in 2008, although they stuck with supporting Republican candidates in that cycle. See this DPNM press release dated 10-28-08. NM Turn Around and other third-party PACS and Party organizations have been a useful way for Yates et al. to hide contributions that would be more obvious if made directly to candidates. Not content to support Republican candidates, Yates and other right-wing forces are now feeling bold enough to fund Dem challengers and meddle in Democratic primaries via third-party entities.

You can imagine what's on the way between now and November. We already know that Susana Martinez, the front-runner in the GOP primary for New Mexico Governor, raised more than half of her campaign funds from October through April from oil and gas interests in the amount of $215,000. And most of that -- $155,000 -- came from one source: Artesia-based Mack Energy, other companies connected to it and their officers. And yet Martinez is trying to run on a platform of high ethical standards. Yeah, she's pure as the driven oil,

Support Rep. Chavez NOW
Matthew Archuleta, who is challenging the seat held by Rep. Eleanor Chavez, is being supported by an array of other special interests from oil and gas, sprawl developers, for-profit prisons and insurance company lobbyists, in addition to the funding from NM Turn Around. They include Conoco Philips, Corrections Corporation of America, Shoats & Weaks (lobbyists for Blue Cross Insurance) and NAIOP (commercial real estate development association).

We have to fight back, and everything's on the line right now, with the primary election happening on Tuesday, June 1st. Please consider volunteering to help Rep. Eleanor Chavez and/or donate what you can right now. There's still time to fend off the forces that want to take this seat away from one of our most dedicated progressive legislators.

May 28, 2010 at 07:13 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, 2010 NM Legislature Races, Corporatism, Energy, Republican Party, Right Wing | Permalink


Scumbags. I doubt they feel one tinge of pain about the oil explosion in the gulf. Money is all they value.

Posted by: Greenie | May 28, 2010 8:04:56 PM

Candidates: don't give the GOP their money back to use against us! Give it to charity instead.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 31, 2010 1:24:26 PM