With all the talk about “ethics” and “good government” lately in Santa Fe, Errors of Enchantment has noticed that one reform has yet to pop on lawmakers’ radar screen: taxpayer-funded lobbying.
It’s a problem from coast to coast, but anyone who keeps an eye on politics and policy in the Land of Enchantment knows how pervasive subsidized advocacy here can be. Case in point: an email sent last week from the New Mexico Tourism Department.
The screen capture above indicates how the bureaucracy’s Heather Briganti used her state-provided email account to urge “partners” to show their “support for the department’s budget request” at a rescheduled hearing of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
There’s no law against what Briganti did. And she could have gone much further. As the National Conference of State Legislatures notes, New Mexico is one of many states that does not “prohibit state agencies from using public funds to retain a lobbyist.”
But just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Jefferson wrote that to “compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.” Where do New Mexico’s legislators stand on the issue?
Run across a “public” entity using taxpayer dollars to lobby the legislature? Let us know!