ABQ ethics board rules against anti-abortion activists - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ ethics board rules against anti-abortion activists

City Hall’s ethics board ruled unanimously Thursday that anti-abortion activists violated the City Charter and election code when they targeted a City Council candidate with graphic mailers.

The group behind the mailers, Protest ABQ, had been accused of failing to register as a political committee with the city – a process that requires disclosing campaign spending, donations and other activity.

The fliers targeted Pat Davis, a Democrat who ultimately won election to succeed Councilor Rey Garduño.

The ethics board voted 4-0 to impose a $1,000 fine and issue a public reprimand. The group is still crafting a written opinion with its specific findings.

Angelo Artuso, an attorney for Protest ABQ and others named in the complaint, said he will file an appeal in court.

He argued Thursday that there was no evidence presented to the board proving that the mailers cost more than $250 – the threshold that triggers registration with the city. Artuso also said the rules themselves violate his clients’ First Amendment rights.

After the board voted, Artuso put it this way: “They got it wrong.”

Sara Berger, an attorney for Alex Curtas, the man who filed the complaint, said an important principle was at stake – the public’s right to know who’s behind the campaigns for or against a candidate.

“We’re trying to seek transparency in elections,” she said after the hearing. “It’s important to know who the players are in elections.”

Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, a left-leaning advocacy group, was targeted with graphic anti-abortion advertisements this fall.

The mailer called Davis “too extreme” for the district.

Albuquerque city government has little to do with abortion. But Davis had been involved in a 2013 campaign that opposed a ballot measure proposing to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Curtas, who filed the complaint, works with Davis at ProgressNow.

His complaint names Protest ABQ and two of its activists, Bud and Tara Shaver.

The ethics board, an appointed body, deliberated behind closed doors before taking action in public. Voting in favor of a fine and reprimand were ethics board members Andrew Schultz, Rex Throckmorton, Gary Van Luchene and Gerges Scott.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, stats, quotes and ... Some extra notes, stats, quotes and whatever else I could to empty out of the old notebook after UNM's close loss at Wyoming
2
Finding redemption in prison
ABQnews Seeker
Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope ... Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope to peers
3
Investigation into officer's death a 'slap in the face,' ...
ABQnews Seeker
NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted ... NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted suspect during traffic stop on Feb. 4
4
'Honest' Martínez rises in ranks to House leadership
ABQnews Seeker
Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, ... Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, cannabis and tax rates
5
New approach to teaching race in school divides NM
ABQnews Seeker
Students would learn about social identity ... Students would learn about social identity under new plan
6
Lawsuit says Belen firefighter fired for reporting COVID-19 case
ABQnews Seeker
Man believes he was terminated for ... Man believes he was terminated for notifying human resources of sick co-worker
7
GOP leader has 'no regrets' for Trump certificate
ABQnews Seeker
Law enforcement is looking into an ... Law enforcement is looking into an election-related document
8
Attorneys say jail could not find inmates for hearings
ABQnews Seeker
Bernalillo County: No one has gotten ... Bernalillo County: No one has gotten lost in the detention system
9
APD investigates 2 homicides over several hours
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Police Department's Homicide Unit is ... Albuquerque Police Department's Homicide Unit is investigating after a dead body was discovere ...