Thursday, March 24, 2005

Banned In Santa Fe? Lobbyist-Lawmaker Dispute Has Alligators Dancing; Plus: Even More In Our "Whose The Greatest" Senator Debate 

Rep. Silva
Anyone who knows longtime ABQ Dem State Rep. Dan Silva will tell you he is one of the most low-key guys you will meet. But 2005 may change his reputation. First, there was that sour battle with Senate Judiciary Chair Cisco McSorley in which Silva and Cisco accused each other of sabotaging each others bills. Now, there is the bizarre story making the rounds in the inner circles about Silva and Association and Commerce Industry lobbyist J.D. Bullington.

My sources, and they are extremely reliable, maintain that Bullington has become the first lobbyist in a generation to be banned from the Legislature, or at least the Senate Finance Committee.

The saga has Bullington and Silva at a Finance hearing. Silva is waiting for his bill to come before the panel, but is unaware that Bullington, according to those in the know, has told a committee staffer that Silva wants the bill pulled from the agenda. The staffer follows the instruction unbeknownst to Silva who waits patiently in the audience for his bill to be heard. When the committee is set to adjourn, Silva asks what's up with his bill. The committee tells him they were told he wanted the measure pulled. Mild mannered Silva is outraged and, the Alligators say, this leads to the Senate Finance Committee banning Bullington from future hearings.

"It reminds me of liquor lobbyist Pancho Padilla who back in the 60's said aloud: "I own the Legislature. He was banned from he capitol grounds," recounted one Santa Fe oldtimer.

While J.D.'s alleged infraction may not have been as offensive as Pancho's, it stunned Silva who saw it as the ultimate betrayal of the lobbyist-legislator relationship. Meanwhile, Bullington e-mails to say that he has met with Silva over the dispute and that "I believe everything has been worked out." I could not reach Silva for comment. Bullington added he was never banned from Senate Finance. "I was in the Senate Finance hearing on the pre-K bill on the second to last day of the session," he writes.

As for which bill Bullington was trying to stop, I could not determine with certainty at this writing, but I think it's this tax proposal.

Bullington has been a well-known presence at the Roundhouse for the better part of a decade and is also know for throwing out fiery missives from the editorial pages of the ABQ Tribune. Whether he's banned in Santa Fe or not is in dispute, but it will surely give the wall-leaners something to watch for when the 2006 Legislature opens its doors.

Sen. Carl Hatch
Rodger Beimer may be one of the last reporters around who remembers or maybe even knew notorious lobbyist Padilla. Beimer was a major presence in NM TV news from the 60's thru the 80's. The Taos native blogs in today not about Pancho Padilla, but about our Whose the Greatest" NM U.S. Senator debate. We've been having fun with this one on off and on here. Beimer came up with a good one too: Senator Carl Hatch: "Talk about impact. What about the Hatch Act of 1939? Under it, federal employees and certain state and local government employees faced significant restrictions on their ability to participate in political activities and placing ceilings on campaign expenditures. The act is named for Carl Atwood Hatch (1889-1963) of New Mexico," penned political addict Rodger.

As for Beimer, he is helping mind the store at NM Expo when not indulging his passion for the history of our beloved La Politica.

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