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Monday, January 31, 2011

Susana Martinez's BOLD Inaugural: Big Oil, Gas, Pharma, Developer Hoedown

Martinez dances at inaugural, says NM "open for business"

Over the weekend, Republican Governor Susana Martinez's transition team released a list of donors that paid for her inaugural shindig in Santa Fe. It's shocking, I know, but Martinez’s BOLD inaugural party largely ran on oil, gas and cash from powerful interests. BP, Xcel, Yates and Western Refining were among the heavy-hitting energy companies that powered Martinez’s party.

The question on everyone's mind, of course, is what might they want in return? Just today, the Republican members of the NM House Energy and Natural Resources Committee walked out on a presentation by two energy experts about the negligible impact of common-sense regulations on oil and gas production. Committee Chairman Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) said, ""The Republicans were making all kinds of noise about fairness and what kind of chairman I'm going to be, and the first trick or game that is played is a walkout. It honestly blew my mind. I couldn't believe it. It was just kind of a sad moment."

Apache and Devon energy companies gave $25,000 each to the Martinez inaugural with others, including BP, Shell, Yates, Western and Xcel, each giving a minimum of $5,000. Meanwhile, the infamous Helena Chemical Company gave $10,000 and Jeff Elmore, one of its top managers in Mesquite, personally donated another $15,000. Vanessa Bartoo, of Bartoo Sand and Gravel, donated $25,000. Vanessa also owns the racehorse Double Down Special, currently the fastest quarter horse in the nation.

A number of nuke interests also gave generously to Martinez's inauguration fund, including the Nuclear Energy Institute ($10,000), Uranium Producers of NM ($5,000), Urenco USA ($10,000), Neutron Energy ($15,000), International Isotopes ($250). Other power interests also gave big, including Peabody Energy ($10,000), PNM Responsible Citizens Group ($25,000), El Paso Corp. ($2,500), El Paso Electric ($10,000), El Paso Natural Gas ($2,500), New Mexico Gas Company ($2,500), New Mexico Gas Company HEAT PAC ($2,500), New Mexico Propane Gas Association ($5,000), Pinnacle West: Arizona Public Service ($25,000) and Southern Union Gas Services ($10,000).

In total, Martinez raised $966,000 for her inaugural -- the most in history. Unfortunately, it's difficult to determine who many of the individual donors are because, unlike required campaign donation reports, the list doesn't include any occupations beside the names. If you see any you know, please add them to the comments thread on this post.

“It’s no surprise that the industries that stand to gain the most bank-rolled Martinez’s inaugural party,” said DPNM Executive Director Scott Forrester in a statement released today. “In reviewing the list of inaugural and campaign donors, I have a feeling pay-to-play will be alive and well in the Martinez administration, despite what she said on the campaign trail.”

“In fact, just one month in and we’ve already seen attempts to weaken clean-water protections with connected lobbyists and lawyers helping to write Martinez’s own executive orders,” Forrester continued. 

Gov. Martinez has also chosen climate change denier Harrison Schmitt, who has called environmental leaders "communists," to serve as NM Energy Secretary. And the NM Supreme Court recently forced Martinez to implement new greenhouse gas rules she had refused to publish by issuing an executive order on the first day of her administration.

In addition to oil and gas, Martinez’s inaugural fundraising roster is dotted with insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and developers. Some of the same big donors from oil and gas and other special interests that funded her primary and general election campaigns also gave big for her inaugural. Some of them have even become part of the governor's transition team. And remember, Martinez got blobs of campaign bucks from a number of big business moguls and oil interests from Texas, as well.

“Whose side will Martinez be on?” Forrester asked. “Will she favor average New Mexicans struggling to stay in their homes and make ends meet in this economy -- or will she take the side of the powerful corporate interests and continue to let them write her administration’s policies?”

“Time will tell, but Martinez’s fund-raising is a pretty clear indicator what side she’s on,” Forrester said.

January 31, 2011 at 06:16 PM in Energy, Environment, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Regulation, Susana Martinez | Permalink


The Rs - pout first, walk later. They did not engage the two presenters on their (very good) data, which Brian would have given them every opportunity for. Instead Bratton went after Dr. Sorvig on his qualifications as a fraccing expert which was totally of base, as it had nothing to do with Kim's presentation. When Egolf pointed out that; they - the Rs - were given a week to bring their own experts and that Rep. Park had the floor, out they went. I will not be surprised if there are many, many scenes like this. The Rs seem to be data phobic. Hell of a way to run a party or a state!
Both presenters - Dr. Sorvig and Betsy Siwula-Brandt - gave excellent presentations which I believe are on the Energy and Natural Resource Committee website. For the first time in the State's history, the tax realities of the oil/gas industry were laid open for all to see. No wonder the Rs walked - they had no counter.

Posted by: david bacon | Feb 1, 2011 12:37:04 PM

Facts are so inconvenient to the Rs pushing their fake talking point blather. The Ds need to keep the facts coming every time a right winger opens his or her mouth. The truth shall set us free!

Posted by: Lila | Feb 1, 2011 1:33:00 PM

United Health Care $25,000. Rent-seeking bloodsuckers.

Posted by: eric | Feb 1, 2011 3:07:42 PM

New Mexico open for business to Gov. Martinez top corporate donors.

And Susana, if you're going to buy clothes with our tax dollars the least you can do is have better taste...that dress was absolutely gross.

Posted by: Dana | Feb 24, 2011 2:40:37 PM