Chair: Fred Moran
Vice Chair: Angelica Rubio
2nd Vice Chair: Howard (Chuck) Russell
Secretary: Dora Martinez
Treasurer: Nancy Hartwick
Ward / Precinct Co-ordinator: Howard (Chuck) Russell
Special Events: Eva Gomez
On May 7th, Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) released their latest report, Connecting the Dots – The Role of Campaign Contributions in New Mexico Health Policy, focusing on campaign contributions and how legislators vote when receiving donations from industries affected by their voting. Between 2000 and 2010, various healthcare industries contributed a combined total of $4,863,088 to candidates running for political office in New Mexico. Furthermore, contributions from these industries have increased substantially over time, from $268,096 in 2000 to $1.3 million in 2010.
Focusing on six pieces of health-related legislation between 2007 and 2010, our findings suggest that money does play an influential role in the voting behavior of New Mexico legislators. In almost all instances, decision-makers who receive larger amounts of money from the healthcare, tobacco, business, eating and drinking establishments, gambling and lodging, and pharmacies are more likely to vote in a manner that is favorable to that industry.
“New Mexicans want to be assured that our legislators are voting for the public good, not to pacify or cater to industry in New Mexico,” says CCNM’s Executive Director Viki Harrison. She continues by saying that “public confidence in the legislative process is critical if we are to trust our legislators and have confidence in the legislative process.”
In nearly each case, decision makers who receive larger amounts of money from the healthcare, tobacco, and liquor industries are more likely to vote in a manner that is more favorable to that industry. However, we want to clarify that the correlations found here between campaign contributions and voting behavior do not imply that legislators are trading votes for campaign donations. Identifying individual motivations for voting one way or another, or to vote at all for that matter, are impossible to determine at any level of certainty. That said, the correlation between contributions and voting behavior alone can erode trust in government and interest in politics among the population. If the public believes that powerful interest groups can use their financial resources to steer policy in the direction of their interests, this is not good for the status of democratic governance in our state