Did Martinez campaign lie to hide the money?
Major Republican candidates across the country have been scrambling to distance themselves from billionaire Republican backer Marcus Hiles after it was revealed that he “slapped, choked and dragged [a woman, who was not his wife] by the hair after a night of drinking that included a stop at Sapphire’s Nightclub, a strip club”
Texas’ new governor, Greg Abbott, released this statement, “At no point in time was Governor Abbott or any member of his staff aware of this deeply disturbing incident. Governor Abbott believes that any violence against women is deplorable, unacceptable and shameful,” then joined other Texas donors in donating more than $700,000 they had taken from Hiles away to domestic violence shelters in Texas.
One notable exception to the list of Republican candidates distancing themselves from Hiles and his money is New Mexico’s Susana Martinez.
State senators, White House advisors and statewide domestic violence victim advocates all called on Martinez to follow suit and donate the relatively small amount of $10,400 her personal campaign received from Hiles to the state’s domestic violence prevention programs.
But Martinez said she couldn’t donate that money because she had already spent it. From the Santa Fe Reporter:
But campaign finance reports filed earlier this week tell a different story. Again, the SFR:
But new reports filed with the secretary of state’s office for the April 15 campaign reporting deadline show that the same day the Journal published Knell’s quote, Martinez’ committee had roughly $70,000 cash-on-hand…
In the following weeks, campaign finance reports show, Martinez’ campaign committee spent down most of the roughly $70,000 it reported having in the bank when Knell indicated to the Journal otherwise in an article published online on March 17.
Instead of giving Hiles’ contributions to anti-domestic violence causes, as with Republicans across Texas, Martinez’ campaign reported spending $15,000 on Republican Albuquerque school board candidate Peggy Muller-Aragon on April 1; $7,738 in travel on April 6; $10,000 in contributions to another Martinez political committee, Susana PAC, on April 6; and $21,400 on “professional services” to McCleskey Media Strategies, run by her top political advisor Jay McCleksey, on April 6.
Read the rest of the story from the Santa Fe Reporter, which obtained the police reports from Las Vegas outlining Hiles’ alleged offenses and more about Governor Martinez’s calling for other candidates to give away donations from donors involved in criminal activity against women.