UNM Law Students Research PAC Spending in New Mexico

Jarrett Hines-Kay

Jarrett Hines-Kay

Vikram Pately

Vikram Patel

UNM Law School first year students Jarrett Hines-Kay and Vikram Patel recently researched and wrote a report for Common Cause NM, an organization that looks at the influence on money in politics.

The research studies Political Action Committee (PAC) spending in New Mexico from 2005 to 2012 and is titled, "New Mexico PACs: Growth, Influence, and Shifting Interests."

Common Cause NM indicates the research "shows a dramatic increase in spending from out-of-state PACs, a shift away from party-centric PACs, and layers upon layers of concealed funders through PAC-to-PAC contributions."

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • A shift from party dominated PACs to ideological PACs
  • PACs donating to other PACs, effectively concealing the true entities making contributions
  • PACs that spend the most in New Mexico politics are primarily funded by organizations outside the state, mostly from Washington D.C.

Hines-Kay says he and Patel conducted the research, helped write the report and reforms, and created the infographic. "As a native New Mexican, I was surprised to see how much out-of-state money is contributed to influence our politics," says Hines-Kay.

Media Attention

The report has received considerable media attention, including a front page article in the Santa Fe New Mexican that ran on Monday, January 21, 2014, the first day of the legislative session.

An article in the Santa Fe Reporter highlighted the report on January 22, 2014. Please also see the infographic.