Commentary: Monopoly utilities should not be deciding who regulates them. But that's what's happening in the current PRC election according to the latest campaign finance reports at the New Mexico Secretary of State's office.
Utility holding company PNM Resources is the sole contributor to a PAC that is spending furiously to elect Sandy Jones to New Mexico's Public Regulation Commission District 5 covering Southwest New Mexico. The Public Regulation Commission is charged with regulating utilities throughout the state - including PNM. Jones recently voted to make ratepayers pick up the tab for $150 million in PNM coal investments his own PRC staff said PNM should pay for.
New Mexico utilities are prohibited by law from contributing directly to PRC campaigns because of obvious conflicts of interest, but they are not expressly prohibited from contributing to independent expenditure PACs.
In another interesting twist, the PAC is using Republican strategist and Governor Martinez confidant Jay McCleskey to run the program which focuses on TV hit ads and mailers to promote Jones and smear his opponent.