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Campaign rules broken, official says

Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero

SANTA FE — New Mexico’s election director ruled Friday that Democratic state Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero violated the state Campaign Reporting Act by failing to provide enough information to justify some spending and inaccurately recording some transactions.

Many of the amounts at issue are small — sometimes under $10 — and simply require a better explanation, such as that coffee was purchased during a meeting with constituents, according to a letter issued Friday by Kari Fresquez, the state elections director.

But Fresquez did flag one batch of about $1,200 in donations that she says weren’t properly reported because Roybal Caballero didn’t disclose the individual contributors’ names, occupations and addresses.

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Fresquez also said that, in response to an inquiry from state election officials about those donations, Roybal Caballero provided different information that doesn’t match her original report.

Roybal Caballero has 10 day to amend her reports and make a $50 reimbursement, or the case will be referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for enforcement, according to the letter.

The reimbursement is necessary, Fresquez said, because Roybal Caballero improperly donated $50 to a group, “Respect for Women,” that isn’t registered as a political committee.

In an interview Friday, Roybal Caballero said she will amend her campaign reports to address the letter.

“They’re not violations that cannot be corrected,” she said.

But she disputed the need for a $50 reimbursement. The “Respect for Women” campaign she donated to, she said, was a viable political committee in 2013, formed to oppose a ballot measure that sought to impose new abortion restrictions in Albuquerque.

Roybal Caballero joined the state House in 2013 and represents a patch of southwest Albuquerque, near 98th Street.

Fresquez’s inquiry came after a complaint by McMahon Private Investigations.

Fresquez works under Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat and New Mexico’s top election official.

 

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