SHEDDING LIGHT ON LOBBYING ACTIVITIES AND CLOSING THE REVOLVING DOOR

In America, we have a system of government of, by, and for the people — a democracy in which everyone has an equal voice and our elected officials are held accountable to our needs.

But today, wealthy special interests and their lobbyists have thrown our system out of balance. They make the rules; they set the agenda, and they do it by drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens.

In New Mexico, we know that well-connected insiders have more access to our elected officials and can exert much more influence than average citizens. That’s why we’re working to improve disclosure of lobbying activities and close the “revolving door” by requiring a cooling off period before former lawmakers can become paid lobbyists.

Updating the Lobbyist Regulation Act

New Mexicans overwhelmingly support requiring lobbyists to make public the bills and issues they have been hired to lobby on. Recent data shows a 6:1 ratio of lobbyists to each state legislator Рthat puts New Mexico’s citizens at an alarming disadvantage to have our voices heard.

To update the Lobbyist Regulation Act we must:

  • Require lobbyists to report which legislative or administrative issues they have been employed to discuss with legislators so that the public knows who is lobbying for which legislation in New Mexico.
  • Restore the requirement to report spending by lobbyists on legislators of items under $100.

The Revolving Door

New Mexico could improve public confidence in the integrity of our state government by enacting a two-year waiting period before former elected officials can become lobbyists.

Approximately 13 former senators and 13 former representatives currently lobby the legislature, with the number increasing every session. These lobbyists are well-known to their former colleagues and their experience and knowledge of the process makes them more influential than the average constituent or citizen lobbyist.

Acknowledging the advantages provided by prior service in the legislature, the federal government and 28 other states provide for a hiatus or a pause between when a senator or representative leaves the legislature and when they can lobby former colleagues.

Together, we can ensure that the voices of average New Mexicans are heard and not overpowered by well-connected lobbyists for the special interests.

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