Tuesday, May 15, 2012
"Senator Phil Griego, Stop Hiding and Come Clean"
Yesterday marked the end of the 15 days the Secretary of State gave Senator Phil Griego to respond to the formal ethics complaint filed by challenger Jack Sullivan. Sullivan filed the ethics complaint against Griego for violating New Mexico campaign finance laws. Rather than answer the complaint, Griego has asked for more time, giving no indication how much time he needs to respond to the questions raised.
On April 27, 2012 Jack Sullivan submitted a letter to the Secretary of State's Ethics Division outlining incidents which Senator Griego unlawfully used his campaign account for personal expenses.
Specifically mentioned were expenditures of $955 for NFL Bronco tickets reported as a "constituent event," $7500 for new office furniture, and $2100 in credit card payments.
"Griego's delay is a stalling tactic. I believe the public has a right to know how they were served by the NFL tickets, golf trips or expensive new office furniture the Senator purchased," says Jack Sullivan, a former Santa Fe County Commissioner. "Now is the time for the Senator to come clean and answer the charges: is he illegally using lobbyist contributions to pay for his personal expenses?"
In the last two years, Senator Griego, who was not up for an election, received $92,000 thousand in lobbyist and corporate contributions and spent $83,000 thousand. He is the top democratic recipient of lobbyist campaign contributions, according to New Mexico Watchdog.com. The allegation suggests Senator Griego used much of his campaign funds on personal expenses like golfing, trips, and fixing his car.
Voter Conci Bokum, said, "I am sorry to hear the Senator's response. I would hope he would respect voters and make the information available very soon."
New Mexico State Law [Sections 1-19-29.1 (A.2) NMSA 1978] forbids legislators from using their campaign account for personal expenses.
The law states that penalties for violating the Campaign Reporting Act should be referred to the attorney general or district attorney for further investigation and may include a civil penalty of two hundred fifty dollars for each violation not to exceed five thousand dollars. (Campaign Reporting Act, 1-19-34.6 Civil Penalties NMSA 1978.)
Jack Sullivan is challenging Senator Phil Griego and Nicole Castellano in the June 5 Democratic Primary. Jack Sullivan has the backing of the American Federation of Teachers, Planned Parenthood New Mexico, Conservation Voters New Mexico and the Sierra Club.