October 29, 2015

Acting SOS wants answers on Griego’s post-resignation spending

The acting Secretary of State is looking deeper into Phil Griego’s post-candidacy campaign finance spending following a report by New Mexico Political Report.

Phil Griego

Phil Griego

Mary Quintana, who is in charge of the Secretary of State’s office until Gov. Susana Martinez can make an appointment, asked Griego for more information on Griego’s use of campaign finance funds after his resignation earlier this year.

The Albuquerque Journal first reported on the October 26 letter.

“It has been brought to our attention that possible violations may have occurred,” Quintana wrote. She referred to the 2015 Second Biannual report and expenditures made between April and September. Griego resigned on March 14.

Quintana’s full letter to Griego is available at the bottom of this post.

In all, Quintana wants answers on eight separate expenditures, including $1,500 in expenditures made out to himself to reimburse costs of constituent events. Griego did not have constituents since he was not in office.

Griego also paid $1,600 in rent to Blue Chip Plaza LLC, $500 to Capshaw Middle School for a constituent event, $1,500 for a consultant and $1,400 for auto repairs.

New Mexico Political Report brought these questionable expenditures to light earlier this month.

We spoke to Griego earlier this month and he said “Sure” when asked if he expected scrutiny over his campaign finance reports.

He also said that he believed those in the district would always be his constituents.

From our previous piece on Griego:

Griego argued that just because he resigned does not mean he has to stop working for those in the district, citing his effort to open a Smokey Bear museum in Capitan, New Mexico. When New Mexico Political Report cited an existing museum in Capitan, Griego insisted there was not one there yet.

Griego told New Mexico Political Report that he is not running for reelection.

The nameplate of Phil Griego before and after his resignation. Photo credit: Andy Lyman, Matthew Reichbach

The nameplate of Phil Griego before and after his resignation in March, 2015. Photo credit: Andy Lyman, Matthew Reichbach

Viki Harrison, of Common Cause New Mexico, said in the original report that the expenses did not appear valid since Griego is no longer in office and is not running for office.

Griego has until November 9 to provide a written response.

Griego’s 2015 has been filled with scandal.

Griego admitted to violating a portion of the state constitution which bars members of the Legislature from being involved in any contract made possible by legislation passed during the term they are serving or for one year after the passage of that law.

Griego brokered the sale of a state building that was made possible by the passage of the joint resolution.

Dianna Duran, the former Secretary of State, also found herself in violation of state campaign finance law. She pleaded guilty to two campaign finance violations as part of her plea deal.

Both were misdemeanors.

Update: Added link to the Albuquerque Journal.

Phil Griego Letter 10 26 15