SANTA FE, N.M. — Mayoral candidates Javier Gonzales and Rebecca Wurzburger want the city of Santa Fe to withhold public campaign financing money from fellow candidate Patti Bushee until the city’s Ethics and Campaign Review Board can hold an expedited review of a complaint filed against Bushee by a woman who briefly served as Bushee’s campaign manager.
“Patti Bushee receiving $60,000 in public money after admitting to violations of the Elections Code jeopardizes the integrity of the Public Finance Code,” Gonzales and Wurzburger said in a joint letter to ECRB chair Justin Miller.
“We believe at a minimum no funds should be released to Patti Bushee or her campaign without a hearing of her admitted violations,” the letter said.
Bushee’s former campaign manager Tarin Nix filed a complaint with the ECRB last week alleging Bushee has violated the city’s public campaign finance code.
The complaint centers around a $1,750 check Bushee gave Nix in June for campaign management services. Bushee, who at the time anticipated running a privately funded campaign, wrote the check from her personal funds. Bushee later decided to seek public financing.
Bushee has said that when she decided to switch gears from private to public financing she was advised by an expert to reconcile the Nix expense by writing a second check to Nix out of seed money. Seed money is the $6,000 in funds candidates seeking public financing are allowed to use as campaign startup funds.
Nix’s complaint alleges that Bushee’s violations include obtaining seed money contributions in excess of the $100 individual limit allowed and paying for campaign expenses from her personal account.
Public financing checks of $60,000 will likely be issued Thursday to candidates, including Bushee, who have been certified by city clerk Yolanda Vigil as qualifying for public financing.