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Politics Notebook: Capital outlay changes sought as politicos trade jabs over Koch brothers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico business political group and a Democratic candidate for state treasurer are trading jabs and possible overstatements in a spat centered on the Koch brothers’ politicking in New Mexico.

The dispute was sparked last week when John Wertheim, in a fundraising email for his campaign, identified the New Mexico Business Coalition as “the face of the Koch brothers in New Mexico.”

Wertheim noted that the coalition accepted event sponsorships from the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity political group. However, Americans for Prosperity also has its own branch in New Mexico, under that name.

The Koch brothers, David and Charles, are billionaire business owners from Kansas who have injected millions in political donations nationwide through Americans for Prosperity to help elect conservative Republicans to federal and state governments.

Eighteen cadets, including Rio Rancho Officer Ryan Dyer, second from left, graduated from the 109th Cadet Class from both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Rio Rancho Police Department on Friday at the African-American Performing Arts Center. APD graduated 10, and Rio Rancho police graduated eight. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Eighteen cadets, including Rio Rancho Officer Ryan Dyer, second from left, graduated from the 109th Cadet Class from both the Albuquerque Police Department and the Rio Rancho Police Department on Friday at the African-American Performing Arts Center. APD graduated 10, and Rio Rancho police graduated eight. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

The New Mexico Business Coalition – a 501(c)4 political group that does not report its donors and defines itself as a “grass-roots operation that will educate individual voters about the candidates and issues” – responded to Wertheim in a mass email this week.

The coalition acknowledged accepting cash from Americans for Prosperity as a partial sponsor of coalition events but said, “There is no tie between the New Mexico Business Coalition and Koch.”

Doing it Differently: A trio of Rio Rancho legislators said Thursday that they intend to change the way they request state capital outlay funds for their community.

Rather than pitch smaller, individual requests for the Legislature’s annual allocation of community construction funds, Sen. Craig Brandt, Rep. Tim Lewis and Rep. Jason Harper, all Republicans, said they’ll hold a public hearing in December to review community requests and select the best options for the next year.

“We believe the process and criteria we use to select projects to fund with capital outlay monies should be more transparent and open to the public,” said Brandt. “We also want to provide an opportunity for our constituents to voice their support or opposition to the proposed projects.”

Contact James Monteleone at jmonteleone@abqjournal.com

 

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