Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, and Permian Resources Recently Directed Over $230,000 to New Mexico Legislators – More than 75% to Democrats.

(The first in a series from The Candle: “Follow the Money, Food, and Beverages Satiating Lawmaker Appetites.”)

Are Democratic Leaders Becoming “Progressively” Indebted to Fossil Fuel Lobbyists?

This could be a run-away session for Oil and Gas Interests, despite the filing of legislation seeking to reign-in an industry which historically denied its contribution to climate change.

One of today’s newspapers describes how Republicans are fighting against legislation creating better controls over the carbon creating industry.

The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Robert Nott wrote aboutwhat may well be a longer legislative battle over changes to oil and gas industry practices.”

Oil and Gas Lines the Pockets of Legislator Campaign Groups Weeks Before Session.

But in addition to the battle being fought publicly, the oil and gas lobbyists have been fueling their best efforts behind the scene using lots of money.

Exxon Mobil and other companies quietly ramped up their campaign contributions to key Democrats in an effort to scuttle efforts by those wanting to address climate change and protect neighborhoods.

About eighty days before the beginning of the period during which there is a prohibition on soliciting campaign money (between January 1st and during the legislative session), two lobbyists started dolling out more than $230,000 to state senators and state representatives on behalf of Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, and Permian Resources.

And the $230,000 referred to above is just the tip of the iceberg – The Candle will have another story tomorrow about oil and gas interests as well as a myriad of other corporate efforts to influence what lawmakers and the governor will focus on between now and the end of the session.

Marjorie Childress, editor at New Mexico In Depth, wrote earlier this week about the difficulty in getting a true and timely picture of how much money is being spent on lawmakers.

Childress pointed out a blind spot for the public, writing that those who gave money to those lawmakers in the last quarter of the year – in the form of campaign contributions – will largely be a mystery.

“That’s because lawmakers aren’t required to file a public report in January about campaign contributions they received in the run-up to the legislative session, if they didn’t run for office the year before,” she continued.

Childress’ article also points out that some information can be gleaned from lobbyists reports – which, thanks to Childress, is where The Candle gathered information regarding the recent oil and gas money contributed to legislators.

The Democrats Pocketed About 77% of the End of the Year Oil and Gas Largess.

Most of that oil and gas money went to Democrats with large amounts bolstering the campaign coffers of House and Senate leaders, leadership accounts, and chairpersons of high profile committees.

The Democrats received about 77% of the contributions, totaling $178,036 of the $231,536.

Republicans, who typically advance the agenda of the oil and gas industries in New Mexico, received significantly less, taking in only $53,500.

That differential in Oil and Gas contributions is significant, as many Democratic legislators, at least on the campaign trail and at meetings with environmental advocates, express concern about the outsized influence of the industry on policy-making.

Early today, The Candle sent a text to Speaker Javier Martinez seeking a response from him regarding how the Democratic leadership in the House and in New Mexico in general, can square the acceptance and apparent solicitation of the oil and gas money with what they generally argue is their progressive political posture.

There has been no response from the Speaker.

Should we receive a response, we will update this story.

We have posted the two lobbyist reports at the end of this article, so feel free to take a scroll.

Here are a few of the the contributions made to Democratic Leaders:

Interestingly, two days before the prohibited period on fundraising began, the House Democrats sent out a fundraising email asking grass root New Mexico Democrats for more money. They wrote,

“Today and tomorrow are the final two days to contribute to NM House Dems in 2023 before the fundraising blackout period begins on January 1st. This blackout period continues until our legislative session concludes at noon on February 15th, meaning that for 45 days we will not be able to fundraise and support candidates in the toughest districts.”