Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Keeping it Simple

I probably should be writing something about the candidate finance reports filed yesterday, but there really isn't much to say that hasn't already been covered by Heath Haussamen and others. General rule of thumb is that up to the point of diminishing returns, which hasn't been hit yet, he or she with the most money in the bank wins. Comparing Democrat to Republican dollars at this point is premature, but among the primary races (both D and R) those bucks in the bank are going to make all the difference.

This might seem like an overly simplistic analysis, but it's true nonetheless. Staying with the theme of keeping it simple, enjoy this review of simpler times:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Even Better Than the Real Thing
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Exceptional Excel Worksheet

If you didn't catch Secretary of State Mary Herrera's column on Heath's blog, take a moment to read it. It is an attempt by Ms. Herrera to explain how inadequately funded her technical needs are. For example:
Thanks to Sen. Dede Feldman, who reinstated her capital outlay money from prior years, we received a $70,000 appropriation. We used that to create an Excel spread sheet and update the forms for that year for candidates to file their campaign reports. This amount only allowed us to do minor enhancements.
Wow! It took $70,000 to update an Excel spreadsheet, and a couple of forms. I'm really trying to get my head around that one. That must have been one heck of a spreadsheet. I'm kind of thinking that sounds like a pretty nice job for a programmer. A $70,000 salary and you get to focus on updating a few forms and building a spreadsheet. If I had that job, I'm pretty sure my golf score would be much, much lower.

Of course, it gets better. That $70,000 was only the beginning:

The following fiscal year we were appropriated $176,500 for additional enhancements. Rather than spending any more funds on a 14-year-old system that is outdated and that FileOne (the company that makes the software) has advised us they will be doing away with in the next two years, we went to the Legislature to ask for a change in the language that would allow us to use these funds to pursue another option.

The Legislature allowed us to do that effective July 1 of this year.

We are now moving forward on utilizing these funds to purchase the Washington State system. Due to the funds available, we will have an improved system, but not a new system.

Ok, let's see. That puts us at just under a quarter of a million dollars for a "14-year old system" that still doesn't work right. But, like a Ginsu knife commercial, wait, there's more.

You might remember that the previous Secretary of State also spent hundreds of thousands on the broken campaign reporting system. I was so troubled by this ongoing process at the time that I went ahead and built a site that allowed for instant reporting and searchability of campaign contributions and expenses. The total cost: $200 and twenty hours of work.

Unfortunately, I only had two takers, so I've long since taken down the website, which had garnered some attention at the time. What's the point of all this? Well, it's to make a simple point. The current Secretary of State, like her predecessor, has absolutely no good reason for not having a functional website. Saying that she isn't spending as much as other states is a cop out too. Just because other states have overpaid for their campaign reporting websites, doesn't mean that we have to as well.

Heck, the federal government spent over $27 million to redesign a website. For those of you who have no idea whether that's money well spent. Let me say unequivocally that is the Web 2.0 equivalent to hammers and toilet seats that cost hundreds of dollars. But, maybe Ms. Hererra, would like to use that benchmark to explain away her failures.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sole Sourcing Off-The-Shelf Lawsuits

Just when you think the pay-to-play scandals in New Mexico can't get any worse, they do. Apparently, flowers are not the only things that bloom during the spring season in New Mexico.
Last week brought news that Governor Bill Richardson's campaign and political action committees received nearly $200,000 from money managers and brokers who were seeking access to the state's multibillion dollar pension funds.
Okay, I know, old news. But, this same editorial takes a deeper look at the ethically questionable behavior coming out of the Attorney General's office. Mind you, we were hopeful that when pay-for-access AG Patricia Madrid left office, things would get better. But, it now looks like the players may change, but the game remains the same.
As for Mr. King, he is underselling his political talents. Campaign records show that in the month before his 2006 election, his campaign received $50,000 from Houston lawyer Kenneth Bailey and Mr. Bailey's previous law firm in two $25,000 installments, one of which came within a week of Election Day.
And, what does $50,000 buy these days?
However, you have to wonder just how vital this particular lawsuit is, since it was marketed to New Mexico and many other state AGs as an off-the-shelf product by the Bailey firm.
It would seem it is the going price to bring win the right to sue in the name of the State. When law firms are able to buy the right to sue companies on behalf of the state in exchange for a political contribution. We're all in trouble.

Now, in all fairness, some of you may think I'm jumping to conclusions here. These campaign contributions, and the resulting "gift" to the law firm may just be coincidental. For those of you feel this way, I'd suggest you look no further than Attorney General Gary King's own analysis regarding appearances:
"There's an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its probably a duck," say AG King. "And I think we know a duck when we see one."
Well, I guess duck hunting season is starting a little earlier this year..

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bahrain Investors Collect NM Taxpayer Funds

Some people may be worrying about grand jury investigations, but whatever the grand jury finds is nothing compared to what the Rio Grande Foundation is likely to dig up:

Even some of the [State Investment Council's (SIC)] smallest acquisitions look questionable. Take for instance, its investment in Small Smiles. The SIC's 2007 annual report showed an investment of an unstated sum in this New Mexico company. By directly contacting the venture capital firm that handled this investment, the Rio Grande Foundation learned that about $500,000 New Mexico taxpayer dollars have been invested in Small Smiles. The SIC itself had not been able to answer this question.

Contrary to the SIC's annual report, Small Smiles, is not a New Mexico company. It is a national chain of low-income dental clinics owned by a bank in Bahrain. Furthermore, at the time half a million taxpayers dollars were going to help Arab investors, Small Smiles was being blasted in an Emmy Award winning investigative television series called "Drilling for Dollars."

Small Smiles clinics in the Washington, D.C. area were exposed for abusing children by strapping them to "papoose boards." Small Smiles had engaged in unethical billing practices. Parents came forward with complaints of unnecessary dental work being performed on their children without their consent.

Geez, forcing unnecessary procedures on children in order to line their pockets, it doesn't get more evil than that. As to the use of papoose boards to perform unnecessary dental work, okay, I was wrong it does get more evil.


Mind you, I'm the father of two young boys. My oldest needed to have a dental "appliance " installed at the age of four to correct a problem. It was not a fun experience for him, but I was there the entire time to hold his hand. I can't imagine how he would feel about me or the dentist if we had allowed him to be strapped into a papoose board. I'm thoroughly disgusted.

How is it that the SIC has had so many questionable (I'm being kind here) and ill-fated investments? Well, you might remember that it has been standard policy under the Richardson administration to fire those advisors who did not want to issue rubber stamp endorsements of shady (okay, sugar-coating is not really my style) deals that Governor Richardson wanted to see approved.

That's right, I said, "Deals that Governor Richardson wanted approved." After all, the Governor is the chairman of the SIC. Now, in light of all of the recent scandals, you may be wondering if the Governor has ever received any campaign contributions from anyone connected to Small Smiles.

Well, I'm glad you asked. As it turns out, the Chairman and CEO of the holding company for Small Smiles is Michael Lindley of Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Lindley did indeed donate a $1,000 to our Governor's presidential campaign. He also gave a $1,000 to Congressman Ben Ray Lujan's campaign.

Of course, my guess is that our Speaker of the House Ben Lujan solicited the funds on his son's behalf. After all, other than the imprisoned former State Senator Manny Aragon, the only other elected official to recieve funds cycle after cycle from Small Smiles in New Mexico is Speaker of the House Lujan.

Now, I'm sure none of this is tied to pay-to-play in New Mexico. It's probably all just some strange coincidence.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Since When is $13,000 Staggering?

In support of the eco-terrorists favorite candidate, Martin Heinrich, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has launched a radio attack in the 1st Congressional race against the law and order candidate, Darren White (hat tip: Heath Haussaman).

This segment from the radio spot that had me rolling on the floor:
Darren White has raised $13,000 from big oil interests, and he is asking us to believe he is going to solve the energy crunch? Martin Heinrich has a different approach.
Since when is $13,000 considered a staggering amount? A quick review at the FEC site shows that, Sheriff Darren White had raised $906,062.69 through June 30, 2008 - basically 1.4% of his total contributions. Now, in the name of full disclosure, I should point out that I've personally given $2,300 to Darren White's campaign - basically .25% of his total contributions.

Compare my own personal annual gross revenues (in the six figures in a good year) with the hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue by the Oil & Gas industry in an average year. So, I guess with all things equal, my contribution is the truly staggering amount.

Now, we know that Martin Heinrich's "different approach" to the energy crisis involves embracing the advocates of monkeywrenching. And, we know that the oil industry accounts for about 1% of Darren White's overall fundraising. You tell me which candidate is better suited for Congress.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Martin Heinrich Appeals to EcoTerrorists

No matter which side you are on with regard to the War on Terror, most everyone can agree that terrorists have no place in a civil society. That's why I find it very troubling that Martin Heinrich, candidate for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, has a long history of accepting campaign funds from self-described EcoTerrorists.

If you've got some time watch this video of Earth First co-founder, Dave Foreman, taken eleven years ago.

EARTH FIRST! The Politics of Radical Environmentalism by Manes 4


If you don't have time, then just skip straight to the end around 10:30 in the video. These guys are out scary. Just read, Dave Foreman's bio at Activistcash:

Biography
A former environmental lobbyist and Sierra Club board member who became disillusioned with the democratic process, Dave Forman founded the notorious "direct action" environmental organization Earth First! Foreman declared that "Earth First! is a warrior society," and under his leadership the group has engaged in arson, violent assault, and vandalism of all kinds. Foreman is the author of Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching. As the name suggests, the book is an instruction manual for illegal sabotage and how to get away with it. Foreman's "Confessions of an Eco-Warrior" justifies his life of zealotry by stating: "We humans have become a disease -- the Humanpox."

Foreman pled guilty to conspiracy after he was accused of providing the funds to blow up power lines leading to and from a nuclear power plant. Foreman wrote a check to buy grenades. Foreman left Earth First! in 1989 and founded the Wildlands Project, which seeks to restrict human civilization to limited patches of the Earth and wall off the rest for nature to rule. From 1995 to 1998 he served on the Sierra Club's board of directors. He is presently the publisher of Wild Earth, the periodical of the Wildlands Project.

Background
Founder, Earth First!; Founder; Wildlands Project; Author, Eco-Defense: A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching and Confessions of an Eco-Warrior
Everyone knows that Martin Heinrich is an environmentalist, but Earth First! is not just about preserving open space and being ecologically sensitive. These folks, with whom Martin Heinrich has a longstanding relationship, believe that the "human race is a disease" and they advocate terrorists acts against hard-working Americans.

Both Dave Foreman and his wife, Nancy Morton have financially supported Martin Heinrich since his run for the Albuquerque City Council. Nancy Morton has gone on to write him two checks already for his Congressional race.

Lest, you think Ms. Morton is not as radical as her husband watch this video, or better yet, go straight to the three minute mark and watch what happens to mill workers when somebody spikes a tree. Immediately following the mill supervisor's explanation, Nancy Morton shows little concern for the mill employees, because in her own words they're "guilty parties in the destruction of the forest."

EARTH FIRST! The Politics of Radical Environmentalism by Manes 3

I think Martin Heinrich has some explaining to do. On his website Heinrich ranks "protecting the environment" as one of his top issues. Does he also believe that folks that work in mills are "guilty"? Does he believe hard-working people in the construction industry are guilty? Would he sanction endangering the lives of oil workers who are trying to feed their families?

Just how far is Martin Heinrich willing to go to protect the environment? Apparently far enough to get EcoTerrorists Dave Foreman and Nancy Morton to open their wallets.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Political Mutual Funds

Due to a lawsuit filed by three ousted Democratic legislators, there has been a lot of attention given recently to the political activity of certain not-for-profits (subscription):
Officials for the Center for Civic Policy said in May they had sent out literature for the Legislative Accountability Project in conjunction with several other nonprofits, including the SouthWest Organizing Project.

They said they sent the materials out as mailers starting after the end of the last legislative session as educational materials for voters based on the legislators' voting records, not as campaign materials intended to unseat lawmakers.

The mailers, which criticized the losing officials for their voting records and campaign contributors, were stopped more than a month before the primary to avoid the appearance of any partisanship, they said.

"Our organizations have a long and proud history of working for ethics reform, good government, health care and a clean environment," [
Center for Civic Policy Director Eli Il Yong] Lee said in an e-mail Saturday. "As nonpartisan, not-for-profit organizations, it is our responsibility to educate the public about the votes and contributions of our elected officials."
Okay, let's start with the obvious. Eli Lee has been involved in politics for quite some time now as the CEO and President of Soltari, a political consulting firm, with an impressive list of clients who went on to win their elections. Mr. Lee knows what he is doing when it comes to running winning political campaigns.

The problem here is that Mr. Lee is now supposedly running a "nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization," the Center for Civic Policy, but his actions and his alliances indicate otherwise. First, consider the Center for Civic Policy's ties to the New Progressive Coalition (NPC). What does the NPC do?

NPC acts as a political giving advisor by providing you with products and services to target your political and charitable time and money more effectively.

Think Charles Schwab for politics.

In other words, NPC raises money to be distributed and used in political campaigns. They try to make "political giving easy and strategic," and they funnel money to organizations like Center for Civic Policy and Act Blue. Now, the latter, unlike the former, does not try and skirt campaign finance laws. Act Blue is organized as a Federal PAC and like all PACs the contributions to and from the PAC are governed by campaign finance laws and are not tax deductible.

As a former not-for-proift executive, it's that last part that really irks me. Mr. Lee is conducting political activity, and he is doing it to benefit a certain wing of the Democratic Party - a strictly partisan endeavor. Yet, his donors are able to write off their political contributions as charitable deductions and remain hidden from exposure during the election cycle.

The irony in all this is that Matt Brix, the former Executive Director of Common Cause and champion for campaign reform in New Mexico, is the Executive Director of the Center for Civic Policy. Matt and I have often had dialogue regarding campaign limits. Matt has consistently lobbyied for campaign contribution limits, and my position has always been that they are unneccessary and full and timely discolusre is prefereable.

Not-for profits have no contribution limits nor do they have to disclose donors in a timely manner. If this were a Star Wars movie, I believe Matt would now officially be a member of "the Dark Side." And, I'm sure someone conviced him it is all in the name of a greater good.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who Takes Oil and Gas Money?

So, Jim Baca's trying to paint a picture of the oil and gas industry and the Republican Party in New Mexico being in bed together:
The biggest contributor to the Republican party in New Mexico is the oil and gas industry. That is a fact. Now, John McCain says that he will rely on the Republican party for most of his fundraising for his presidential campaign. Ergo, the oil and gas industry will be largely funding his campaign, along with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the rest of the military industrial complex.
First, let me say the obvious. I have no problem with the oil and gas industry. As I've pointed out more than once before, New Mexico would be in a pretty sorry state if it wasn't for this industry. My guess is that a big part of Jim Baca's problem is that he didn't get much support from the oil and gas industry when he ran for Land Commissioner. I'll go out on a limb and guess it has something to do that he likes to make them into a boogey man.

Now, the interesting part...

According to followthemoney.org, the oil and gas industry made a little over $2 million in contributions to candidates in 2006. It's worth noting that is SIGNIFICANTLY less than the $2.4 million spent by lawyers. Hmm, who do you think those trial lawyers gave their money to? But, I digress.

Taking a look at the list of recipients of oil and gas money yields a very interesting observation. Namely, that there are an awful lot of Democrats on that list receiving an awful ot of money. Just on the first page, you'll find Governor Bill Richardson, Lt. Governor Diane Denish, Attorney General Gary King and the New Mexico Democratic Party.

Again, I've don't have an problem with the oil and gas industry. In fact, as a small business owner, I recognize the important role they play in keeping my business growing. My problem is that until Jim Baca is ready to call the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and State Democratic Party to task, it is just going to come off as sour grapes.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Democratic Vote Buying

There has been a lot of talk both in the local and national news about the Democratic Party's superdelegate system, and the role they may play in picking the Democratic nominee for President:
First-term Rep. Carol Shea-Porter supports Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, even though her New Hampshire constituents voted for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It came to a virtual draw in our state" in last month's primary, she says of the mismatch in positions. "I think it's a moot question."

In her case, perhaps so. But Shea-Porter is not alone, and increasingly in the close Democratic race, the political intentions of delegates picked outside the primaries and caucuses are cause for controversy.

It turns out that one reason that superdelegates are going to vote against their constituents desire is cold, hard cash. It seems being a superdelegate is one way Democrats are able to pad their campaign coffers:
At least two of New Mexico's Democratic "superdelegates" — party leaders who might end up choosing the nominee for president if the race between U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton remains tight — have received campaign contributions from the candidates.

Obama's political action committee, Hope Fund, in 2005 made two contributions totaling $4,200 to U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman's 2006 re-election campaign. Meanwhile, Clinton's HILLPAC gave $5,000 to Gov. Bill Richardson's 2006 gubernatorial race.
Keep that in mind the next time you hear about Democrats calling for campaign ethics reform in New Mexico.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Public Funding Epilogue

I meant to write about this earlier in the week, but it got lost in the election hoopla. There was a little article in the Albuquerque Tribune, which makes the perfect case against public funding:

Garduño is advocating an earlier reporting period, because any extra money distributed to a publicly financed candidate after the last reporting period would be given too late to make a difference.

That happened in one case this year, when incumbent City Councilor Debbie O'Malley - who was victorious in her District 2 re-election bid - received about $1,600 on Election Day.

"You can't do anything with it. You can't, like, put a piece of mail out," O'Malley said. "We ran out of food (on Election Day), and we got some more for our celebration party. I ended up giving some of my people some extra money for helping out."

Gee whiz, Councilor O'Malley, did you ever think about maybe just returning the taxpayer's money since it couldn't be used for campaign purposes? No, I guess not. Why should you, right? Instead, you spent it on food and handed it out as party favors. Yup, I'm sure that was in the public's best interest.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Look, I've Said it Before

It's going from bad to worse for Governor Bill Richardson (subscription):
Gov. Bill Richardson said Thursday the state Transportation Department's headquarters project hasn't been tainted by campaign contributions and fundraising help from developer Gerald Peters.

"Of course not," he said in response to a question during a news conference.

"Look, I've said it before. There's no connection between donations and what happens in state government," Richardson said. "That's always been an established principle."
You know he's right. He has had to say it before - many, many times. There was that Guy Riordan problem. And, who can forget the Santa Fe Reporter's article on All the Governor's Men? Then there are all those state government jobs that were created for the Bill Richardson's favorite donors. Oh, and I almost forgot about that time that more than a few eyebrows were raised when "a developer's family members and their businesses contributed at least $130,000 to Gov. Bill Richardson's campaign several months after a family business was granted direct access to a city thoroughfare for a shopping-center project."

Well, at least the Governor has assured us that there is no connection between donations and what happens in state government.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oops, Too Late to Avoid Taint

It looks like Governor Bill Richardson's Administration is in the middle of yet another sticky situation at a most inopportune time (subscription):
The Journal reported last week that the Transportation Department and SCS, a company affiliated with Richardson supporter and friend Gerald Peters, were discussing a headquarters of about 170,000 square feet— down from the 300,000 initially called for by the department.

In general terms, SCS is to build a headquarters and provide a Rail Runner station for the state free of charge in return for the right to develop the rest of the Transportation Department property.

The Journal also has reported that defendants in the Metropolitan Courthouse construction scandal in Albuquerque were linked to the early stages of the planned redevelopment on a 25-acre tract near downtown Santa Fe.

One of them was hired as project manager for the DOT redevelopment and two flew on state planes to out-of-state meetings about the headquarters redevelopment.

A new federal indictment alleges the same defendants in the courthouse case also conspired to corrupt another DOT project, which state officials have identified as the proposed redevelopment of its District 5 regional office on Santa Fe's southside.

That's an awful lot of defendants to be connected to a man running for President of the United States. It will be interesting to see if this reignites national investigations into other questionable Richardson activities.

Combine Governor Richardson's numerous gaffes on the campaign trail with his one degree of separation from several shady characters, and it becomes very clear why some folks are pretty disappointed with Governor Richardson:
The New York Observer’s Steve Kornacki writes that Bill Richardson “might just be the biggest disappointment of all” the White House candidates. The “hesitant, confused and jarringly inarticulate man the country has met this year is a far cry from the savvy and confident leader that his resume might lead one to expect.”
Stay tuned for more fallout.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scratch Your Head and Wonder

Sometimes, I just don't get it. Good old Joe, Joe Monahan that is, has been around the political scene for an awfully long time. So, he knows how the game is played. He knows that to be competitive in the race for New Mexico's First Congressional District a candidate - even an incumbent candidate - is looking at a minimum $4 million ante. Yet, Joe Monahan continues to post this rubbish:
Meantime, on the Heather front, my Alligators had told us she was up in Farmington recently, her latest stop outside of her congressional district as she appears to be prepping for a US Senate run in the event Senator Domenici is sidelined. Now we've received confirmation of the visit in the form of an editorial from the Farmington Daily Times which acted like Heather's unusual side trip was all in a day's work. Wilson has also recently been to Clovis, Las Cruces and Los Alamos. If she's not testing the waters for the Senate, the NM Tourism Department ought to hire her.
C'mon Joe, there's no prepping for a US Senate run going on here. You know it, and I know it. What is happening is the same thing that happens every single election cycle. A congressional candidate shows up in all parts of the state because he or she is going to have to raise money from all parts of the state. Because of campaign funding limits. you can't be limited to a certain geography. Instead, you have to raise funds far and wide.

Even Patricia Madrid went deep into what used to be Tom Udall territory, Los Alamos, to hold a campaign fundraiser last election cycle.

So, how about it Joe? Can you stick a little closer to the facts? Otherwise, I'm afraid you're going to give all of us bloggers a bad name. You keep up this silly US Senate run stuff up, and it won't be long before an editor of the Alibi is counting you among the "blogger crackpots."

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Monday, July 30, 2007

You Got to Play, Now It's Time to Pay - Again

There have been many stories about the Pay to Play politics of Governor Bill Richardson. And, according to a recent article by Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican, Governor Richardson's run for President is no exception:
So who is bankrolling Richardson’s campaign?

OpenSecrets.org (the Web site of the campaign finance watchdog group Center For Responsive Politics) breaks down contributions by the donor’s employer. By far, the biggest employer is New Mexico’s state government. State employees so far have coughed up $244,730 for the chief executive’s campaign.
So, is it normal for a presidential campaign to aggressively pursue donations from state workers (subscription)?
Mary Boyle, Washington, D.C., spokeswoman for the government watchdog group Common Cause, said it's unusual for a presidential candidate to bring in so much from state workers.

From one view, "It reflects well that people in state government must (like) him," Boyle said. From another view, "Questions could be raised as to whether state employees are being pressured to give out of fear their jobs will be in jeopardy if they don't," she said.
Hmm, my money is on the latter.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

First You Actually Have to Be a Republican

I've watched with much amusement as Governor Richardson's favorite blogger has opened mouth and inserted foot a couple of times this week. Yes, I'm talking about New Mexico's premier politicial gossip columnist, Joe Monahan.

Staying true to form, our dear friend, Mr. Monahan, is trying to paint a picture of turmoil and dissension within the Republican Party of New Mexico. This time the tale he's spinning starts something like this:
Suffice it to say, Dog Days of Summer or not, the blogging Gods pulled the plug on the getaway, providing a reason we couldn't dream up even if we had dosed that iced tea with Drambuie. That reason is one Spiro G. Vassilopoulos, a Republican considering running against NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici in the 2008 primary. Got your attention?
Now good ol' Joe may have got your attention, and mine, but in classic style, he either forgot to do his homework or just chose not to do it for the sake of sensationalism.

You see, if Senor Monahan had done his homework, he would have realized that even if Spiro G. Vassilopoulos is registered as a Republican, Mr. Vassilopoulos' money has a long history of being committed to the Democrats.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Go check out Political Money Line and see for yourself. Now, you are going to have to go back a ways, because it's been a good 13 years since Mr. Vassilopoulos has written a check for more than $200 to a candidate for federal office.

  1. In 1994, he and his wife contributed $500 to Senator Domenici's campaign, but he reserved the big money, a $1,000 for Democrat Bob Krueger of Texas.

  2. In 1990, he gave Senator Domenici another $500, but in the same campaign cycle he gave the Democrats, James Warren Lane of Texas $2,000 and Senator Jeff Bingaman, $333.

  3. In 1988, he gave his $500 to Senator Jeff Bingaman.
In case math is not your strong suit, that leaves us with Mr. Vassilopoulos donating a total of $3,833 to Democrats and $1,000 to a Republican. Sorry, but in my book, anyone who gives their money almost 4:1, Democrat to Republican, does not get to call themselves a Republican.

And, anyone following politics in New Mexico for any length of time knows that a "republican" candidate with close allegiances to the Democratic Party doesn't have even the slightest chance of being taken seriously by the GOP faithful in a primary situation.

Tsk, tsk, Mr. Monahan.

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