AG says guv’s radio ads might have violated law
From the newspaper:
“‘Although you did not seek our advice in this matter, we are concerned that your interpretation of the Campaign Reporting Act is unnecessarily broad and may open the door to use of campaign contributions contrary to the Legislature’s intent,’ Lama wrote.
“But Lama’s letter doesn’t suggest that the attorney general is going to take any further action.”
Duran ruled earlier this month that Martinez didn’t violate state law by using campaign funds to lobby the legislature, saying the ads “promote the governor’s issues and ideas, and that the promotion of such issues and ideas are a standard campaign activity.”
Duran’s ruling followed complaints from two nonprofits about the ads – Somos Un Pueblo Unido and Common Cause.
Duran was quoted by The New Mexican as saying her office had not received “any correspondence or communication from the Attorney General on this matter,” including the letter obtained by the newspaper.
“We find it surprising and unlikely that the Attorney General would decide to create some unsolicited legal advice for our office and immediately forward it to the media before sending it to us,” Duran said. “This would seem to be a violation of the ethical obligations of any attorney…”
She also noted that the letter “does not contain any reference to case law or legal precedent. It also contains no mention of the Supreme Court’s or 10th Circuit’s holdings on First Amendment issues. Accordingly, our office would have any number of questions concerning the opinions expressed in it.”
Update, 10:25 p.m.
Martinez spokesman Danny Diaz released this statement:
“Just like other groups and political parties that aired ads during the session, the governor has a First Amendment right to promote ideas and issues, including her desire to ban driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. The secretary of state has ruled this was perfectly fine, which is consistent not only with common practice, but more importantly, with the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
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