Retaliation

Retaliation – it’s all too common in politics these days and politicians in Washington, D.C have raised the concept to ridiculous heights or rather to unscrupulous lows. But don’t think for a moment that revenge and retaliation are lost on local politicians and their political operatives.

As many of you are aware, I ran for Mayor in the city’s Municipal Election last year. During the campaign we noticed that the Keller campaign – despite being publically financed by your tax dollars – was continuing to accept monetary donations even though they were prohibited from doing so by the Albuquerque Open and Ethical Elections Ordinance.

At first we thought these “in-kind” donations were strange. But it wasn’t until a local media outlet caught Keller Campaign Manager Jessie Lane Hunt soliciting monetary donations and instructing the donors to write “in-kind” on the checks, that I filed my complaint.

The Keller campaign was subsequently found to have violated two provisions of the City of Albuquerque public financing code; they accepted monetary contributions expressly prohibited by the code and they used the Rio Strategies bank account as a repository for those campaign contributions violating the single bank account provision.

Not surprisingly two days after filing my initial complaint with the city, the Keller campaign filed the first of two complaints against me through surrogates. Never mind the fact that I was running for a city office in a city election governed by the city election code and the city ethics ordinance. Their complaint was filed with Bernalillio County.

The first complaint was dismissed in January but undaunted by their initial failure and still stinging from the findings of violation in the city election, the remnants of the Keller campaign found yet another surrogate to file a complaint – one filed long after my run for mayor was over.

Here’s where it gets interesting… The complainant endorsed Keller in the mayoral election. The chair of the County Code of Conduct Review Board was none other than Alan Packman, Ms. Hunt’s partner at Rio Strategies who ran Keller’s campaign and “in-kind” cash laundromat. And the attorneys representing the complainant are the same attorneys who defended Keller in the city action where I prevailed.

When the prosecutor, the judge, and the complainant are all related by politics and share objectives, you can be assured that the outcome of this kangaroo court will not be based on facts and law but rather on politics and revenge.

I ran for commission because I wanted to clean up government. I authored the county’s transparency ordinance – the toughest in the state. And I co-sponsored the very code of conduct that I am being charged under now. I am fully aware of its provisions and who it is intended to cover.

The simple fact is, the County Code of Conduct does not apply to municipal elections any more than it does to federal or state elections. The code specifically addresses the offices of commissioner, sheriff, assessor, treasurer, clerk, and probate judge in a primary, general or special election. I was not running for any of the covered county offices in any of the specified elections.

Make no mistake, this complaint is pure politics and the weaponization of the county’s code of conduct in order to tarnish an adversary with a history of holding the powerful in government accountable for their acts – including Albuquerque’s newest mayor and his campaign cronies.

When the powerful in their arrogance and greed take advantage of everyday people simply because they hold power or know someone who does, I will fight them every step of the way and I have a clear history of doing so regardless of party or the political cost.

Sounds like an outstanding trait in a State Auditor – which I am honored to be and intend to remain. And really what this entire fiasco is about in the first place.