Lt. Gov. John Sanchez finds himself in hot water because of payments by his campaign that went right back to his own pockets.
KOB-TV reported this week that Sanchez’s campaign paid nearly $43,000 in rent for space owned by Sanchez.
Sanchez paid $1,500 per month, initially. The landlord (Sanchez) then raised the rent on the campaign (Sanchez’s campaign) and charged $2,000.
Getting rent from your own campaign is not illegal in New Mexico. And it isn’t necessarily a rare practice, for candidates from either party.
However, KOB reported Sanchez paid more for rent than any other candidate.
“When you look at what other people are spending, it’s nowhere near that [amount],” Viki Harrison, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico said. The organization champions open and ethical government.
She reacted to an analysis of the campaign finance data conducted by the 4 Investigates team. It shows Sanchez paid more for rent than any other candidate who’s ever reported campaign office rent expenses to the Secretary of State in the last decade.
The analysis shows Governor Susana Martinez paid roughly $27,000 in rent for several campaign offices across New Mexico during the 2014 election. Gary King reported expenses of roughly $39,000.
In other words, Sanchez spent more on rent than either of the gubernatorial candidates in 2014. While the lieutenant governor runs on the same ticket as the governor, they are chosen separately by voters.
A lieutenant governor can only be elected as part of a gubernatorial ticket.