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GOP slams House Speaker Egolf over tax lien

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, faced blistering criticism from the state Republican Party on Thursday for a $10,000 tax lien filed against him and his wife earlier this year.

Brian Egolf

Egolf had earlier disclosed the lien to news organizations – including the Albuquerque Journal – in response to candidate questionnaires.

He said Thursday that he had made a mistake while drafting a check to the Internal Revenue Service but paid the taxes as soon as he was aware of the lien.

The IRS filed a tax lien notice with the Santa Fe Clerk’s Office in February, about 10 days before the end of the legislative session. It said Egolf and his wife owed a total of $10,594 in income taxes from two different years.

In a written statement Thursday, Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce and Republican legislative candidate Raye Byford – Egolf’s opponent in the Nov. 3 election – called on Egolf to step down as speaker. They also blasted Egolf for having supported tax increases during his tenure in the House.

“New Mexico deserves better than a hypocritical Santa Fe politician who says one thing and does another,” Byford said.

Egolf disclosed the tax lien in May to the Santa Fe New Mexican and in August to the Journal, both in response to candidate questionnaires. He told the Journal that he had moved and changed his address, contributing to the mixup.

“As I disclosed in May, no taxes are owed,” Egolf said in a written statement Thursday. “I made an error drafting a check to the IRS and did not learn of the error until a lien was filed. I immediately paid the taxes once I learned of the balance.”

The Republican Party, he said, was attacking him to distract from President Donald Trump’s failed policies.

Egolf won election to the House about 12 years ago. He is seeking reelection to a two-year term in District 47, a reliably Democratic seat stretching from Madrid to Glorieta and covering much of Santa Fe.

Byford, a retired law enforcement executive, is Egolf’s lone challenger in the general election.

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