Here we go again.
In 2012 Secretary of State Dianna Duran found that Sen. Mary Jane Garcia violated the Campaign Reporting Act a dozen times and dipped into campaign funds to reimburse herself for travel expenses the state had also reimbursed.
A complaint by the campaign treasurer of Garcia’s opponent opened this can of worms, and the right-leaning New Mexico Watchdog, a news website, investigated and reported the double dipping, which prompted Duran to act. Garcia paid a fine, reimbursed the state and lost her reelection race.
While the headlines were attention grabbers at the time, it’s one of the only times Duran acted on a campaign finance violation. And maybe now we know why.
When Attorney General Hector Balderas charged Duran with fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other crimes, he also revealed money oozing from campaign contribution accounts into her personal account to cover some astronomical gambling debts.
This from an elected official who in 2011 took office from her discredited predecessor, saying, “We will have a Secretary of State’s Office you will be proud of.”
From the outset, Duran’s priority was voter fraud, not campaign finance.