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AG asked to review request for records

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SANTA FE – A Republican state lawmaker has asked Attorney General Gary King to investigate whether a state law was broken when the director of a key New Mexico legislative agency requested law enforcement records on a Democratic incumbent’s rival.

Rep. Monica Youngblood of Albuquerque said Wednesday that she is concerned state government resources might have been used for political purposes, which would be a violation of the Governmental Conduct Act.

“It appears to be an abuse of power,” Youngblood said. “I think there’s a real concern that needs to be looked into.”

The request being questioned by Youngblood was made March 6 – and quickly withdrawn – by Legislative Finance Committee Director David Abbey on behalf of Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup. She is facing primary election opposition from Olin Clawson, the candidate on whom the records were sought, and two other Democrats.

Lundstrom told the Journal earlier this week that the request for Clawson’s possible hunting and fishing violations was made after a “miscommunication” between LFC staff and herself.

She said she had merely asked an LFC staffer how such records could be legally requested.

Abbey, whose agency conducts nonpartisan fiscal reviews, said he didn’t know at the time he sent the request to a Department of Game and Fish official that Clawson planned to run for the Legislature. The filing date for legislative candidates was five days after the request was sent.

“If I’d known, we would have dealt with it differently,” Abbey said Wednesday.

However, in her letter to the Attorney General’s Office, Youngblood wrote that it appears Lundstrom was using the LFC staff to “dig dirt up” on a political opponent.

A spokesman for the two-term attorney general confirmed Wednesday that King’s office has received Youngblood’s letter. A decision on whether to launch an investigation had not been made, he said.

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