KOB: Lt. Gov. Sanchez pocketed $43K of campaign cash; ethics questioned

First Dianna Duran, now John Sanchez? When Republicans took control of the top three statewide offices in 2011 they promised to run “the most open and ethical administration” ever.  Fast forward five years and Republican campaigns have put more money into politics than any other period in New Mexico history and it looks like they are having a hard time keeping their hands off of it. Just months after former-Secretary of State Dianna Duran completed her jail sentence for stealing hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in campaign funds to pay personal expenses and a growing casino habit, KOB-TV discovered that Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez “pocketed” $43,000 in campaign cash. An investigative report by KOB-TV’s Ryan Luby detailed tens-of-thousands of dollars – as much as an entire year’s income for New Mexican families – of rent Sanchez paid himself for rent of a “campaign office” in a building he already owned, to “run” a campaign where he ran unopposed in the primary and on the coattails of the governor in the general election.

The top 5 WORST things from #NMLEG 2016

It’s almost here; the final day of the 2016 legislature. As always, the battles inside the Roundhouse this year were hard fought. Sadly, though, the trend of New Mexico Republicans being completely and laughably out-of-touch with the needs of ordinary New Mexicans continued unabated this year. From new Secretary of State candidate Rep. Nora Espinoza trying to legalize discrimination and gut wages for construction workers, to male Republican lawmakers trying to insert the government into private decisions about women’s reproductive health, to a House committee chairman claiming that people in New Mexico don’t understand real poverty (!), Republican legislators proved again this year that they’re living in a different universe. But guess what?

More of Martinez’s crony capitalism exposed

A report last week announced that, “New Mexico’s economy is stagnant, largely because of the state’s reputation for corruption and crony capitalism and an environment that fosters pay to play behavior.” Now, there’s yet another story about Susana Martinez’s shady dealings, this time about her using her political power to bail out a big campaign donor. Crony capitalism at its finest worst. New Mexico’s reputation has taken a hit in many ways under Martinez’s administration, but perceptions of deep-seated corruption have been present from her very first day in office. Perceptions turned into proven reality starting last year as Martinez’s Tax and Revenue secretary began to be investigated, her friend Dianna Duran became a convicted felon, and her top-advisor came under FBI scrutiny.

This one picture sums up the Martinez administration perfectly

It’s been a whiz-bang few months for Susana Martinez and her cohorts running the “bold change” administration she promised would turn New Mexico around. In case you’ve been in a cave, today’s Santa Fe New Mexican gives us the rundown:

The past two months have ranged from wrenching to heady for Martinez. She acknowledged that her political adviser, Jay McCleskey, the man she credits for her election as governor, is being investigated by the FBI for payments from Martinez’s campaign and inaugural committee to companies that he controlled. Then Martinez and the rest of New Mexico watched as one of her political allies, former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, pleaded guilty to stealing campaign donations to feed a gambling addiction. Duran entered the Santa Fe County jail on Friday to begin a 30-day sentence.

New Mex. now ‘worst-run state’ in America. Thanks, Gov.

Well, it’s official.  

Five years into Susana Martinez’s “bold change” of state government, New Mexico now has the “worst-run” state in America.  

 

That’s not another report on New Mexico’s education challenges, expanding poverty or shrinking population. Wall St 24/7 looked at how the state’s leaders are managing the state to solve those problems – and they failed.  

So what has changed?

Duran resigns in the middle of the night. Now who should be our next Sec of State? [Online Poll]

In the middle of the night, and just hours before her next criminal hearing, Dianna Duran’s office announced that it was canceling the public hearing where we were set to deliver more than 1,200 petition signatures calling for her to stop her attempts to change election rules she is accused of breaking.  

The reason?  Dianna Duran has apparently resigned. Click to read the story and share on Facebook

Since Attorney General Balderas charged Duran in August, it’s been clear that New Mexico needs a new Secretary of State to restore integrity to our election system.  But, Duran wouldn’t go.

Exclusive: Dianna Duran proposes to change campaign rules she is accused of breaking.

Diana Duran is drowning in a sea of criminal charges including fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. And the bad news keeps coming. Last week, we learned that her scheme goes all the way back to her first election in 2010 when she lied about her treasurer and pocketed more money from her campaign. This week, KOB reports that a family member of Duran’s wrongly spent six months in jail when she accused him of breaking a custody agreement that never existed. And now there’s this:  Dianna Duran just announced plans to use her power as Secretary of State to rewrite campaign finance rules she is accused of breaking.  Really.

Impeach Dianna Duran?

Wow. 

We’re sure you’ve seen this news by now.  Late Friday, Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a 64-count criminal information charging the state’s top election officer with breaking election laws, and a whole lot more. To catch you up, here are the five things you need to know as this story develops:

Sec of State charged with 64 counts involving using campaign cash for personal use

House Dems: If Duran doesn’t resign, we’ll look to impeach

Read the 44 page, 64 count criminal filing

Duran’s defense attorney focuses on fighting AG’s investigation, but doesn’t publicly dispute the underlying allegations

Governor Martinez says “no one is above the law,” signaling her intent to put distance between herself and Duran

This news is no cause for celebration.  It’s another black eye on New Mexico and the Sec. of State’s office that has seen its last three office holders – both Democrat and Republican – charged with crimes.  We’ll need new leadership to return integrity to the office. 

This week, House Minority Leader Brian Egolf announced that the Democratic caucus invited Republican leaders to join them in initiating impeachment proceedings against Duran. As legislators begin this process, some are asking New Mexicans to weigh in.  Do you support impeachment of Dianna Duran by the House of Representatives?

Abolish Voter Registration Altogether?

In the same week that New Mexico’s legislature passed a restrictive mandatory photo voter ID bill through the House of Representatives, Oregon did something extraordinary that will do wonders in the effort to increase civic participation. From Al Jazeera America:
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation Monday making Oregon the first state to have automatic voter registration, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls. The “motor voter” legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry. As the Al Jazeera article notes, Oregon’s move comes as many other states are making it harder and harder for eligible voters to cast a ballot (since 2010, 22 states have tightened voter restrictions with 13 of those states passing mandatory photo voter ID laws). Hundreds of thousands of eligible New Mexicans are not currently registered to vote.

Dianna Duran Wins an “Academy Award”

The Center for American Progress Action Fund released a fantastic report today in the run up to Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. The Academy Awards of Voter Suppression report highlights the worst actors on the democratic stage when it comes to denying access to the ballot box. Our very own Secretary of State Dianna Duran made the list, winning the award for “Best Cinematography.” Here’s the entire list of award winners:
Best Director: Charles and David Koch
Best Picture: North Carolina (emphasis on Gov. McCrory)
Best Actor: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Best Actress: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry
Best Cinematography: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
Best Original Screenplay: George Will
Best Costume Design: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp
CLICK HERE to read the full report and read below to see why Secretary Duran is taking home this not-so-prestigious award. Best Cinematography: New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran
Best Cinematography is awarded to the person who starred in or released grossly misleading advertisements with the aim of suppressing the vote.