Denish to donate money from housing defendants
Lt. Gov. Diane Denish says she’ll donate to charity any campaign contributions she’s received from the men indicted Friday in the housing authority case. At least two of the four have contributed to her campaigns over the years.
“As has been my practice, I will donate to charity any contributions received from any individual who is indicted for a crime, including those individuals indicted today,” Denish said Friday in a statement released by her office.
Denish, according to the money-in-state-politics Web site FollowTheMoney.org, has taken $4,000 over the last several years from Robert Strumor, the former bond attorney for the Albuquerque-based Region III Housing Authority. That agency is at the center of the case surrounding the misuse of bond money.
Denish has also taken $500 from the former Region III director, Vincent “Smiley” Gallegos.
The Web site has no record of Denish taking contributions from the other men indicted in the case, former Region III accountant Dennis Kennedy and former Region III attorney David N. Hernandez.
Gallegos, Strumor and Kennedy are facing felony charges including fraud and money laundering. Hernandez is charged with tampering with evidence. None has yet had a chance to enter a plea in the case.
Gallegos, Strumor and Hernandez have given contributions to other New Mexico politicians over the years. For example, Gallegos, a former House member from Clovis, has given $6,000 to Gov. Bill Richardson; more than $10,000 to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the fundraising organization for Democrats in the state House; and smaller contributions to a number of state lawmakers.
Strumor and his law firm have given $2,060 to Richardson and $1,000 to Secretary of State Mary Herrera. Strumor and his firm also contributed to some now-disgraced politicians, including $2,550 to former Senate President Manny Aragon, $10,000 to former state Treasurer Robert Vigil and $1,600 to former Treasurer Michael Montoya. All three are serving time in federal prison after being convicted of felony crimes in public corruption cases.
Hernandez’s contributions include $1,200 to Richardson and smaller contributions to some state legislators.
Denish is, thus far, the only politician to announce that she’ll donate or return contributions from the defendants.
A prior version of this posting incorrectly stated that Hernandez had given $100 to Denish.
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