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Pidcock Late In Reporting $94K in Loans

By Leslie Linthicum
Copyright © 2008 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
    Martin Heinrich, running in a four-way Democratic primary race for the 1st Congressional District seat, will ask for a federal investigation into opponent Robert Pidcock's campaign financing because Pidcock did not report loans to his campaign in the time frame required by law.
    Pidcock has loaned himself nearly $94,000 in the past two weeks and spent it on TV commercials— one of them belittling the resume of front-runner Heinrich.
    Federal election law requires any contribution or loan of $1,000 or greater made to a congressional campaign after May 14 to be reported electronically to the Federal Election Commission within 48 hours.
    Pidcock earlier had reported raising about $39,000 by May 14, yet he had also bought about $91,000 in TV air time.
    About an hour after he was asked in an interview with the Journal Thursday morning about how he could have spent $91,000 on TV ads while his federal finance reports showed he had raised only $39,000, Pidcock made another report to the FEC. In the report he filed Thursday, he disclosed he had made personal loans to his campaign of $83,677 on May 16, $6,410 on May 19 and $3,793 on Tuesday.
    Pidcock said he hadn't been aware of the 48-hour filing rules.
    "You called me, I went back, I checked it out, I called the FEC, they said, 'Yeah, you need to file something,' so we filed it," he said. "If we've done something wrong, we'll fix it."
    Jon Blair, who is managing Heinrich's campaign, said Heinrich would file a complaint that could result in fines to Pidcock's campaign if he is found to have violated the law.
    "He's not abiding by the law that every candidate in the country manages to abide by," Blair said.
    Four Democrats are on Tuesday's primary election ballot for the 1st Congressional District: Pidcock, Heinrich, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rebecca Vigil-Giron. One of them will go on to face the winner of the Republican primary— either Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White or state Sen. Joe Carraro— in November.
    Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., is giving up the 1st Congressional District seat to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.
    Pidcock, a lawyer, has been especially critical of Heinrich, challenging his work experience.
    Pidcock has aired three TV ads. Two introduce him to voters as a hard-working everyman who wants to go to Congress to shake up the status quo. The third, which hit TV this week, attacks Heinrich.
    His ad begins with a photo of Heinrich and asks: "Have you heard about the Martin Heinrich maneuver, going from part-time summer camp counselor to Congress? Who's he kidding? Claims he had a consulting business, but didn't know he needed a business license? Who's he kidding?"
    Heinrich was executive director of the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, which runs outdoor summer adventure camps in the Zuni mountains. Both Heinrich and the current director of the foundation, who worked under Heinrich when Heinrich directed the organization, say the job was a full-time, year-round position that involves fundraising and managing a substantial endowment.
    "For Robert Pidcock to continue questioning this after being presented with the facts is ridiculous," Blair said.
    Heinrich has acknowledged that he ran a political consulting business in Albuquerque for three years before he realized he needed a city business license.
    Pidcock has questioned whether Heinrich paid gross receipts taxes during the period he did not have a business license. Heinrich provided copies of his tax documents to the Journal that show he did pay gross receipts taxes.