Tuesday, May 26, 2009

SIC Bans 3rd-Party Marketers, Campaign Contributions to Members

Spurred by recent investment scandals in New Mexico, the State Investment Council this morning voted to ban the use of third-party marketers by companies seeking state investment money.

The SIC also voted to adopt a policy that would ban campaign contributions to elected officials or people seeking election to a post that would have influence over state investments. This would prohibit awarding contracts to companies that made contributions for two years before the contract is awarded and would prohibit companies that receive investment contracts to make contributions for two years after the contract is awarded.

One thing that isn't clear: Would this include indirect contributions to political action committees, political parties or non-profits that get involved in elections? SIC staff says they're looking into that.

Also it's not clear whether it involves legislators on oversight committees like the Legislative Finance Committee.

SIC members include elected officials like the governor, the land commissioner and the state treasurer.

These reforms go along with what Gov. Bill Richardson recently recommended. In fact Richardson, who rarely attends these meetings, showed up and made the motion to adopt the policy.

Nobody at the meeting mentioned the name of Marc Correra, son of a major Richardson supporter, who in the past few years has shared in some $15 million as a third-party agent from clients for whom he helped secure state investment money.

Richardson at the meeting said he never knew knew third-party marketers existed and was shocked to learn how much they earn.

Richardson also said he'd support a bill to allow legislators to appoint members of the SIC -- as long as the executive branch kept control of the council. The governor pocket-vetoed a bill that would have increased the number of positions on the SIC and given the Legislature a major voice.

More in The New Mexican later.