Monday, February 10, 2014

ROUNDHOUSE ROUNDUP: More Freebies from Lobbyists

New Mexico is the last state with a Legislature whose members don’t get a salary. The modest per diem paid to senators and representatives often doesn’t cover their expenses, especially those who have to travel long distances and stay in Santa Fe’s expensive hotels and eat at our expensive restaurants.

But to cushion that blow, there are lobbyists, who provide food, beverage, entertainment and gifts for those doing the people’s business at the Roundhouse.

According to lobbyist expense reports, the most expensive gift filed in the past week or so are passes given by the New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance on Thursday. The total value of the passes, which allows legislators to play on five courses around the state, was listed as $28,500. This is an annual gift the golf industry group bestows upon lawmakers.

As is the case with the ski industry, which gives ski passes to legislators every year, there is no legislation this year that directly affects golf courses, except, arguably, the Tourism Department’s budget.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Republican Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales thanked the alliance for the gift and praised golf as important to tourism in the state.

Read the rest of this column HERE

My previous story on lobbyist reports ran Jan. 31. You can find that HERE

My story about the top 10 political contributors among lobbyists is HERE