SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez came under fire Monday for campaign contributions received last year by her re-election campaign from a Texas man with a conviction for domestic abuse.
Specifically, Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, called on Martinez to return more than $20,000 the Republican governor received in June 2014 from Marcus Hiles, a luxury home developer who has given large sums of money to many Republican candidates, and his wife.
However, a spokesman for the Republican governor told the Journal the criminal history of Hiles was not known until recently and that returning the money in question would not be feasible.
“The campaign has long since ended, and you can’t return money that’s already been spent,” Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said.
Marcus Hiles pleaded guilty in 2013 to a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge, stemming from an incident in Las Vegas, Nev., in which police alleged he choked a nightclub dancer into unconsciousness, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The revelation has prompted prominent Texas GOP officials to return political donations from Hiles. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick reportedly said last week they would give more than $700,000 they had received from him to domestic violence shelters and services.
In a Monday statement, Senate Democratic floor leader Sanchez said violence against women is a problem in New Mexico.