September 8, 2015

Maestas didn’t report over $4,000 in campaign contributions


Screenshot from KOB-TV report on Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas

A prominent Democratic state representative failed to report more than $4,000 in campaign contributions according to a report from a local TV station.

Screenshot from KOB-TV report on Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas

Screenshot from KOB-TV report on Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas

The report from KOB-TV says that Antonio “Moe” Maestas, a Democrat from Albuquerque, did not report all of the campaign contributions he received.

From the report:

The 4 Investigates team found six political action committees and four lobbying groups reporting donations to Maestas in the 2014 election cycle. Among them are PACs representing New Mexico’s physical therapists, realtors, insurance and financial providers, and community bankers.

The full video of the report is available below.

No one caught the discrepancy between reported donations given by the groups and the campaign contributions that went on Maestas’ campaign finance reports. One reason is that state law only requires the Secretary of State to examine ten percent of campaign finance reports. These are chosen at random.

Maestas’ were not among those ten percent.

Maestas filed an amended report with the Secretary of State’s office after being informed of the problems with his reports. In a statement, he thanked KOB-TV for bringing to light the inconsistencies.

Some of the organizations that reported the donations confirmed to the TV station that they donated to Maestas.

KOB notes that this is not the first time that Maestas had problems with campaign finance reports.

Maestas failed to file a campaign finance report for months after the deadline earlier this year. He filed an amended campaign finance report at the time.

Meanwhile, the person in charge of campaign finance reports and is herself in even more hot water with something related to her campaign cash.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran is facing 64 counts related to funneling money from campaign accounts to personal accounts. Her lawyer has said she is innocent.

The state House is going to look into possible impeachment of Duran. No statewide official has ever been impeached by the House.

The office of Attorney General Hector Balderas, who filed the charges against Duran, has not said anything beyond a statement sent at the same time the charges were filed. A preliminary hearing will be held to determine if Duran will be indicted and face trial on the charges.

Earlier, Duran clashed with Balderas over how to enforce laws relating to campaign finance. Balderas called for mandatory fines and increased training from the Secretary of State’s office as ways to improve campaign finance reporting in the state.

An investigation by the Farmington Daily-Times found that over 60 percent of campaign finance fines were not collected. Some, like Maestas, had multiple violations.

The Secretary of State has had discretion to waive fines since 1995.

Maestas has served in the state House since 2007. He served briefly as the House Majority Whip until the Democrats lost the majority in the House. He then lost his bid to be the House Minority Whip.

Maestas also was exploring a possible gubernatorial run in 2014, though he ultimately decided against it.

Correction: This story originally said Maestas has been in office since 1997. It was actually 2007. We regret the error.