Thu December 2, 2010
Allegations of Pay to Play Hit NM Game Commission and Dept of Game and Fish
By Eric Mack
Albuquerque, NM – There are more allegations of pay-to-play in Santa Fe this time suspicions of questionable decisions and influence with the state Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish.
Joel Gay is with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, which produced a report showing an alleged pattern of deference to special interests and lack of transparency.
"The commission in the past has done things like propose a rule change the night before a game commission meeting and then vote on it." Says Gay about their legislative practices.
The report says there are ongoing problems that stem from commissioners being appointed as a reward for contributing to gubernatorial election campaigns.
Gay says the influence of special interests on the Commission and within the Department of Game and Fish leads to sportsmen getting short shrift.
He points to decisions regarding antelope licenses for hunters. "The commission has steadfastly refused to make more licenses available to the everyday hunters in New Mexico, and we believe that that's a reflection of these special interests that they have."
Commission members and Governor Richardson have denied any connection between appointments and campaign contributions.
The Wildlife Federation report provides recommendations to Governor-Elect Susana Martinez to appoint commissioners that are more representative of New Mexicans, and it asks that she conduct an open, transparent search to bring new leadership to the Department of Game and Fish.