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Santa Fe couple give $100,000 to environmental PAC

By July 11, 2014September 29th, 2022Democracy, Campaigns & Elections

Thomas J. Cole, UpFront, Albuquerque Journal
A former health care industry executive and his wife donated $100,000 to the political action committee of a New Mexico environmental group.
The contribution is the largest made by individuals this election year, according to the secretary of state’s Campaign Finance Information System.
Barrett Toan and his wife, Polly O’Brien, of Santa Fe made the donation last month to Verde Voters PAC, created in 2012 by Conservation Voters New Mexico.
Toan once worked for then-governor and future President Bill Clinton in Arkansas and contributed $500,000 toward the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. O’Brien worked in the administration of President Jimmy Carter.
Verde Voters is a super PAC, meaning contributions to it aren’t subject to state limits on the size of political donations and it operates independently but in support of candidates.
Verde Voters was active in races for the state Legislature in 2012. It has raised about $500,000 and spent about $386,000 since its inception. Toan gave the group $25,000 in 2012.
The super PAC’s plan for the run-up to the general election in November will be decided after Conservation Voters New Mexico makes its candidate endorsements later this month, according to a spokeswoman for Conservation Voters.
Toan was president and chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmacy-benefits management company, from 1989 until his retirement in 2005, according to, a business news website.
He and his wife have lived in Santa Fe since at least 2008. They have a home on the city’s east side. Neither could be reached for comment.
A person who knows them described the couple as “smart, principled and engaged.” The person added, “They don’t (personally) need or want anything from New Mexico government.”
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