Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Spending Big Bill's Prez Booty; Some Insights, Plus: One Senator Excused From Domenici Ethics Probe, And: Some Wednesday Bottom Lines 

Glancing over the list of names of who gave what to Big Bill's Prez campaign can keep any political junkie entertained, but what is often as engaging is scanning where the campaign is spending its money. For example, could it be that hard-working Richardson press spokesman Pahl Shipley is being paid $2,862 a month, or an annual rate of $34,344? He was making much more when he was a Fourth Floor flack in the Guv's office. Maybe he's on a bonus plan, or perhaps the Guv has promised Pahl a big White House job. Our advice: take the bonus, Pahl.

Big Bill campaign manager Amanda Cooper took in over $121,000 when she was handling his Guv campaign from May '05 to April '06. Those were the good old days. Cooper is now pulling down $4,360 a month. Not bad, but nowhere near that banner Guv campaign year. But she loves her job and believes in Big Bill!

Campaign chairman and longtime Richardson adviser Dave Contarino was not listed as receiving any compensation. Maybe he's doing a trade-out--if Bill wins he gets the office nearest to that oval one.

Shipley took our needling with good humor and provided this statement: "Dave is a businessman volunteering for the campaign. This is not unusual. John Edwards' campaign manager is doing the same. I'm not going to comment on my salary other than to say the Governor and the campaign are treating me very well. I have absolutely no complaints." Shipley blogged.

Besides, he gets all those free trips to cool places like Darfur and Pyongyang.


While we're on the subject of staff, Big Bill has announced he is adding a paid state director and a communications director for Iowa. That's going to get some applause from the Alligators who maintain that Richardson's retail politics could play well there and in New Hampshire and maybe deliver the surprise he needs. The Guv's early spin that a win in Nevada could take him out of the second-tier had the audience sitting on their hands, some of whom argued that he needs to live up to his statement that he is not the Hispanic candidate for president, but a presidential candidate who happens to be Hispanic. One assumes the palefaces in Iowa and New Hampshire will get it.

Lobbyist Thompson
Back to Bill's Prez spending list and the name of a onetime prominent GOP politician who is now a lobbyist. Former ABQ State Rep. Joe Thompson, once the state House Minority Whip who got out of politics in 2004 when he was busted for DWI while a candidate for the Public Regulation Commission, has, in recent years, become even cozier with Bill than he was in the Legislature. The FEC report lists Thompson's $499.00 "in-kind" contribution for catering services. Thompson and other Republicans who have warmed to Bill may want to form a support group. How about the "The Richardsoncrats?"


Not escaping our notice was the expenditure by Big Bill's campaign of $480 to Enterprise-rent-a-car in Miami, Fl. Since the NM branch is our blog's running longest sponsor, we like that. And that leads us to some shameless shilling on their behalf.

Enterprise sought to create exemptions in the $2 per day surcharge NM imposes on car rentals. The exemption would apply to “hardship rentals”—-New Mexicans who because of an accident or breakdown find their cars in the shop for repair. NM Enterprise General Manager Mark Tobiassen reports that House Speaker Lujan sponsored the bill to provide this tax relief and as of July 1 the “hardship” provision will take affect.

Every little bit helps, for sure. Congrats to Mark and his dedicated staff, and thanks to them for helping us keep the politics coming to you since back in 2003.


Did we get "hometowned" on the Guv's North Korea trip, lauding it as a "breakthrough" and even mentioning him as a possible future Secretary of State? It's still to be determined if the agreement he helped strike calling for the shutting down of a North Korea nuke reactor will be implemented. Concerned, I asked ABQ Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher to look into this. (Not really.) He reports back that if the agreement falls through, I will have been "hometowned" and be forced to read, in their entirety, three Kim Jong-il speeches and two of Big Bill's. Come on Kim, shut down that reactor and rescue me from my stern penance.


Here's the latest on the US Attorney scandal. The Politico reports that the "preliminary inquiry" of Senator Domenici by the Senate Ethics Committee over that October phone call he made to then-US Attorney David Iglesias has been confirmed and that Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar asked to be recused from the inquiry. The Senate agreed. The AP reports Salazar asked for the recusal because of a close friendship with former NM Attorney General Patsy Madrid who ran against NM GOP U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson last year. Also, the Washington Post editorializes over Iglesias and Senator Domenici. Plus, congressional investigators now saying they want to talk to Iglesias' successor, acting NM US Attorney Larry Gomez. The beat goes on...and on.


We give the bottom lines today to Republican Gerry Maestas up in Española who takes a bite out of our hide over Tuesday's blog.

"I don't have a high regard for public opinion anyway, but if Pete (Domenici) is in trouble because of Iglesias voters in NM are even more stupid than I thought. We deserve officials like Manny Aragon and (ex-Treasurers) Robert Vigil and Michael Montoya. Lots of wishful thinking on your part, Joe, regarding Pete and (U.S. Rep. Heather) Wilson."

So scores Gerry, who we remind that we don't do the polls, just report them. (Pete broke below 60% in the March Survey USA.) We still see Domenici and Wilson as frontrunners for their respective re-elections, but don't recent events open the possibility for intense competition, or am I missing something?

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