New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative

Website: https://www.chamatroutstalkers.com/

Mission Statement

“The purpose for which the corporation is organized is to promote social welfare, including but not limited to, engaging in the study and research of fish and wildlife.”

Summary

Dan Perry, the owner of Trout Stalker Ranch, formed the Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative to prevent public access to streams and rivers that run through private property. The group ran afoul of campaign finance reporting laws by failing to register as a political action committee. Additionally, Perry circumvented state campaign contribution limits by making political contributions through another organization, the Chama Trout Stalkers, LLC.

Notable Activities & Statements on Public Lands Policy

Trout Stalker Ranch owner Dan Perry Has Worked to Restrict Access to Public Lands

After Perry Purchased Part of His Ranch, He Restricted Access to Most of the Waterway. Dan Perry “bought the first section of his Trout Stalker Ranch in northern New Mexico in 2011, when the Rio Chamita that runs through it flowed Technicolor with toxic magnesium, phosphorus, and other chemicals leaked from the wastewater treatment plant upstream. He worked with the New Mexico governor to secure $8m for a cleanup effort. ‘Now there’s clean water coming out of the Chamita,’ he says proudly. Perry has easements on the north and south end of his property for public river access, but he restricts the majority of the waterway with a cable across the river hung with a No Trespassing sign. He feels he’s protecting his investment in restoring stream health.” He allows “private outfitters access to the water, fenced off to the public, bolstering the view of many New Mexicans that this is the latest example of turning public lands over to a wealthy elite and private interests while shutting out the public itself.” [“Who owns water? The US landowners putting barbed wire across rivers,” The Guardian, 03/15/18]

Perry Actively Supported the Passage of a Bill “That Prohibits the Public from Accessing Waterways That Bisect Private Land.” Dan Perry “was active in the successful effort by ranchers and others during the 2015 legislative session to get a bill passed, and signed by Gov. Susana Martinez, that bars the public from walking or wading in streams that run through private property without written permission.” [Deborah Baker, “New player joins New Mexico political scene,” Albuquerque Journal, 06/16/16]

  • Perry Gave $10,400 to Re-Elect Gov. Susana Martinez, Who Signed the Bill. Perry “personally gave $10,400 to Martinez for her re-election in 2014.” [Deborah Baker, “Ads take Martinez to task over access to streams,” Albuquerque Journal, 09/08/16]
  • Perry Formed the Habitat Conservation Initiative to Protect the New Law. He said, “‘we want to maintain that law. That’s one reason we set up the’” New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative. “Protecting private property rights and promoting conservation stewardship will be major focuses of the Habitat Conservation Initiative, he said.” [Deborah Baker, “New player joins New Mexico political scene,” Albuquerque Journal, 06/16/16]

The New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative Is in Violation of Campaign Finance Reporting Laws.

The New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative Should Have Registered as a Political Committee and Not as a Corporation According to the New Mexico Secretary of State. “New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver says the majority of the candidates and political committees involved in the last election cycle complied with the state’s campaign finance reporting [auth] laws.” Of those with issues, “all but one worked with her office to come into voluntary compliance with the reporting act. In the outstanding case, the secretary of state’s office says the New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative should have registered as a political committee rather than a corporation.” [“Review: Most candidates, PACs comply with New Mexico law,” Associated Press, 06/07/17]

  • The New Mexico Secretary of State Then Referred the Matter to the Attorney General. “The Secretary of State’s Office said it had referred [this matter] to the Attorney General’s Office.” The secretary of state’s June 2017 “report…said it is ‘possible’ the group operates primarily for political purposes, which would require it to register with the state as a political committee. It also said the group had not responded to a February [2017] letter from the Secretary of State’s Office seeking an explanation for the potential violation.” [Dan Boyd, “Audit reveals questionable campaign spending,” Albuquerque Journal, 06/08/17]

Dan Perry Circumvented Campaign Contribution Limits by Donating from Troutstalker Ranch and Chama Trout Stalkers. “This year New Mexico’s campaign contribution limit for statewide office is $5,500 in both the primary and general election cycles. That means one can give $11,000 to a candidate running for governor” who wins a primary. “Those limits apply to individuals, corporations, and political committees who contribute money.” Congresswoman and gubernatorial candidate “Michelle Lujan Grisham reported $10,000 from Dan Perry, as well as $10,000 from his Troutstalker Ranch, plus $11,000 from his Chama Trout Stalkers LLC, for a total of $31,000.” [Marjorie Childress, “Biggest donors get around contribution limits,” The NM Political Report, 04/09/18]

Lobbying & Political Contributions

The New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative and Dan Perry’s Troutstalkers LLC Donated More than $70,000 to Political Committees.

NMHCI and Dan Perry’s Troutstalkers LLC Spent a Combined $70,700 through Lobbyist Marco Gonzales. In total for 2016, “Marco Gonzales, who represents several clients, spent $96,974. His major expenses were on behalf of the New Mexico Habitat Conservation Initiative.” Through Marco “Gonzales, the Conservation Initiative and Perry’s Troutstalkers LLC spent a combined $70,700 that went to both Republican and Democrat candidates and committees.” [Steve Terrell, “Lobbyists spent $1.7 million in 2016 in NM,” The New Mexican, 01/19/17]

Lobbyists Hired by NMHCI

Lobbyist Name Years employed

Marco Estevan Gonzales 2016 – 2018

https://opennessproject.com/organizations/new-mexico-habitat-conservation-initiative-1751/

Lobbyists Hired by Chama Trout Stalkers

Lobbyist Name Years employed

Marco Estevan Gonzales 2014 – 2018

George Manuel Rivera 2017

Susan Bisong 2015

Source:  https://opennessproject.com/organizations/chama-troutstalkers-llc-1484/

Notable NMHCI Contributions

Republican Leadership PAC $10,800

Progress New Mexico $10,800

New Mexico Forward $10,800

New Mexico Family First $10,800

Nate Gentry $10,000

Advance New Mexico Now $4,300

Source: https://www.cfis.state.nm.us/media/ContributorsCMain.aspx

Chama Trout Stalker

Michelle Lujan Grisham $11,000

Peter Wirth $5,000

Source: https://www.cfis.state.nm.us/media/ContributorsCMain.aspx