Secretary of State wants AG to look into potential campaign finance violations

Secretary of State Dianna Duran wants the Attorney General to look into possible violations of campaign finance laws by an Albuquerque state represntative. KOB-TV first reported on the referral and New Mexico Political Report confirmed the referral with a spokesman for the Attorney General. Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, responded by saying the Secretary of State went to the media before informing him of the referral. The referral is for a civil violation, not a criminal violation. At issue are campaign finance reports that did not show all of the donations to Maestas’ state representative campaign.

Two more legislators under campaign finance microscope

Two more state representatives are facing scrutiny over their campaign finance reports following media reports. State Representatives James Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, and Andy Nuñez, R-Hatch, are the latest to see their campaign finance reports be examined for alleged improprieties. The Albuquerque Journal reported Madalena spent campaign funds “on surgery expenses, attire from a Nike factory store and to help a ‘needy family’ in his legislative district.” Madalena told the newspaper that he is working on amending the reports. But he also told the newspaper to look at the campaign finance reports of Nuñez, a Republican (who used to be a Democrat) in a key swing district.

Six things to know about the Animas River spill

The Animas River turned a sickly orange-brown as waste from an abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado flowed into the river. The water with high level of heavy metals has made its way down the river into New Mexico. The cause? A breach from a team working for the Environmental Protection Agency that was trying to treat some of the contaminants in the mine. Here are a few things you should know about the spill as well as some other background.

No answers on how many campaign finance violations sent to AG

No one knows, or will say, how many campaign finance violations are being sent to the Attorney General by Secretary of State Dianna Duran. That is what a report by Farmington Daily-Times has found. The newspaper has been covering the issue for months, initially reporting that over 60 percent of fines for campaign finance violations were never collected. From the report:During the 2012 and 2014 primary and general election, Secretary of State Dianna Duran collected only 4 percent of the 1,984 fines her office assessed, according to a Daily Times analysis of the office’s campaign finance data, which were obtained in an Inspection of Public Records Act request. She waived 34 percent of the other fines, and her staff had not collected another 62 percent, according to the data analysis.This led Attorney General Hector Balderas to say he was ready for any referrals from the office of Secretary of State Dianna Duran.

Gannett acquires several NM papers

A handful newspapers in New Mexico and Texas, including the Las Cruces Sun-News and the Farmington Daily Times, will now be run by Gannett. The Sun-News reported on the sale, which includes seven newspapers in New Mexico, one in Texas and four in Pennsylvania. The newspapers were previously operated by Digital First Media, with Gannett holding a minority stake. “We are very pleased to welcome these well-respected media organizations to U.S. Community Publishing as we further our efforts to expand our reach as the best local media company in America for consumers and businesses,” Robert Dickey, president of U.S. Community Publishing and CEO-designate of Gannett “SpinCo,” said in a statement. Gannett runs dozens of newspapers throughout the country, including the USA Today. USA Today is the third-largest newspaper by circulation.

API: NM a world leader in natural gas production

New Mexico regularly ranks among the top states in the nation when it comes to natural gas production. A ranking published by the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for oil and gas companies, shows that if New Mexico were its own independent country it would rank among the leaders, even ahead of Venezuela. New Mexico would rank 27th if it were its own country, between Nigeria and Oman. “Thanks to innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, New Mexico now outpaces six of 12 OPEC nations in natural gas production,” API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower said in a statement. “Rising domestic production has helped to reshape global markets and revitalize job creation here in the United States.”

Hydraulic fracturing is more commonly known as fracking and has become more and more controversial over the years.