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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Common Cause NM, Somos Un Pueblo Unido Say Susana Martinez Violated Campaign Reporting Act

Following a careful review of New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act, Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) has come to the conclusion that Republican Governor Susana Martinez may have violated the act when she used leftover campaign funds to pay for radio spots lobbying for a bill favored by her administration. CCNM says it has urged the Attorney General’s office to investigate this matter.

“The Campaign Reporting Act places strict limitations on how campaign funds can be used,” said Steven Robert Allen, executive director of CCNM. “Funding this kind of lobbying advertisement seems to be a clear violation of this statute.”

Allen added that he was puzzled by media reports that the Secretary of State’s office found no evidence that the Campaign Reporting Act was violated. Even more puzzling, according to Allen, is the assertion that numerous other candidates have used their campaign funds in the same manner.

“My organization is intensely interested in instances in which this has occurred, because aside from some very narrow exceptions outlined in the Campaign Reporting Act, a candidate’s campaign funds are only to be used to fund a campaign for elected office,” Allen said.

As reported in an Albuquerque Journal article, February 24, 2011:

Duran said definitions in the act give the campaign committee authority to run political ads, even in a noncampaign season. She said numerous other candidates have used their leftover campaign funding in the same way over the years.

"We believe that conducting an advertising campaign for a political purpose is expressly permitted for a political committee," Duran said.

Duran was responding to a complaint filed with the Secretary of State's office by immigrants' rights group Somos Un Pueblo Unido. The organization also filed a similar complaint with the Attorney General, and one with the Santa Fe District Attorney. The complaints allege Martinez violated the Campaign Reporting Act when her campaign committee paid for radio ads pushing for the repeal of the state law that allows undocumented immigrants and other foreign nationals to obtain driver's licenses. Duran said that her office reviewed the situation and does not think Martinez violated the law.

Somos asserts that the act restricts many uses of leftover campaign funding and that the costs of the political radio ad are not allowed.

"(The act) allows such funds to be used only for the payment of campaign debts, donations to charities or the state's general fund, contributions to other candidates or political parties and refunds to the contributors," the complaint says.

To the extent that any candidate is spending campaign money in a manner not listed in the statutory section that describes the lawful use of such funds (Section 1-19-29.1 NMSA 1978), CCNM has urged the Secretary of State to forward all such instances to the Attorney General’s office for investigation.

Click to see the provisions (pdf) of New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act describing the lawful uses of a candidate’s campaign funds.

February 24, 2011 at 11:53 AM in Ethics & Campaign Reform, Immigration, NM Secretary of State, Susana Martinez | Permalink

Comments

My lord, the rules are clear. You can only spend campaign funds on campaigning when you're running for election. Martinez makes it up as she goes along and now the crooked Dianna Duran goes along. Clean house my ass.

Posted by: Jake | Feb 24, 2011 4:03:37 PM

So much for Diane being a "rulebreaker." Project much, Oh Susana?

Posted by: Proud Democrat | Feb 24, 2011 4:32:35 PM

Of course Dianna Duran won't investigate her fellow republican Martinez...are you kidding?

Posted by: Dana | Feb 25, 2011 9:14:47 AM

Always and forever: It's OK If You Are Republican, or for short, IOKIYAR.

Posted by: bg | Feb 25, 2011 9:17:57 AM

So where is AG Gary King? Speak up Gary!

Posted by: Moko | Feb 25, 2011 10:07:40 AM

I got a robo-call telling me to call my legislature members that voted against taking driver's licenses from illegal immigrants. I said that criminal gangs were coming over here to murder American citizens.

Posted by: qofdisks | Feb 25, 2011 2:54:40 PM