Attorney General Hector Balderas charged Secretary of State Dianna Duran with 64 counts related to using campaign cash for personal use.
The Albuquerque Journal was first to report on the charges that were filed in state district court.
“Today we filed an Information alleging 64 criminal violations by Secretary of State Dianna J. Duran including embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, violations of the Campaign Practice Act, tampering with public records, conspiracy, and a Governmental Conduct Act violation,” AG spokesman James Hallinan said in an e-mailed statement. “Our office will proceed transparently by way of preliminary hearing. Through that process, all facts supporting these allegations will be presented. That is all the information that we are able to provide at this time.”
New Mexico Political Report reached out to Duran’s office for a response and will update this piece when a response is received.
The 64-count charge says the investigation began after a tip earlier this year.
Duran won reelection in 2014. She was the first Republican to be elected Secretary of State since 1928 when she won her first term in 2010.
From the Journal‘s report:
It says money was shifted between her personal and campaign accounts, behavior that “often culminates in large debits for cash expenditures occurring at casinos” throughout the state.
Earlier this year, Duran accused Balderas of filing campaign finance reports late. Balderas was able to provide proof that two were filed on time and offered a letter from the time of the third that said he accepted any fines from the third.
This is a breaking news story. We will be updating this story as more information comes in.
Update: Full document (via KRQE-TV) added below.
From the complaint:
In all, Duran made $430,447.96 in withdrawals from accounts she controlled.
A review of her “known sources of income” showed that Duran and her husband, Rosaleo Barraza, did not make nearly that much money. When PERA (from both Duran and Barraza), Barraza’s social security and other money including gambling income were included, the couple made $93,526 in 2010, $122,041 in 2011, $118,724 in 2012 and $137,667 in 2013.
This was what was reported on their joint tax returns.
Update: The criminal complaint outlines several ways that Duran funneled money to personal accounts.
For example, in one instance (5 in the complaint), the report states thatDuran issued a check to a Sean Davis from the campaign account in 2011. Then “the check was endorsed with a signature that appears to be Sean DAvis and endorse a second time as ‘Dianna J. Duran 28028306…'” It was then deposited to her personal account; a campaign finance report listed it as sent to Sean Davis for “Equipment & work on campaign.”
An interview with an investigator from the Office of the Attorney General with Davis found that “Davis advised he did not work or for the 2010 campaign.” He said he “did not receive funds from the check and he did not endorse the check.”
In another example (7 in the complaint), a check from the campaign account for $511.21 went to Duran’s joint checking account on November 21, 2014. It was not listed in campaign finance reports.
“However, there is an expenditure identified and reported as ‘PrintMart Onestop-68-4 4th St NW, Los RAnchos NM 871-7’ for $511.21 on September 30, 2014.”
There are over a dozen such examples listed in the complaint.
Duran’s lawyer is starting to speak out.
From the Albuquerque Journal:
Duran’s lawyer, Erlinda Johnson, issued this statement: “We have just been served with the complaint and information filed by the State Attorney General’s Office. We are in the process of reviewing them. We ask the public not to jump to conclusions and we look forward to addressing the allegations in court.”
Duran’s attorney, Erlinda Ocampo Johnson, told NMPolitics.net that, “in reviewing the complaint, we have identified some serious potential violations of law by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office in conducting the investigation.” NMPolitics.net has asked her to elaborate.
“We hope this is not a politically motivated case and that the attorney general is not engaging in a selective prosecution of a political adversary,” Johnson said. “We ask the public to not jump to conclusions and we look forward to addressing the allegations in court.”
Gov. Susana Martinez issued a statement to media.
I have spoken to the Attorney General about the charges brought against the Secretary of State. These allegations are deeply troubling and concerning, and all relevant state agencies have and will continue to assist the Attorney General throughout the process. It’s important that New Mexicans understand that no one is above the law and that every New Mexican is treated equally throughout our system.