Senator’s spending fails the smell test
State Sen. Phil Griego spent thousands of dollars of campaign contributions last year to buy NFL football tickets and fix his personal vehicle. Clearly, Phil Griego has strayed far from the path of responsible and accountable government for New Mexicans.
Would you describe NFL football tickets, golfing, new tires and credit card payments as “constituent events?” That’s how State Senator Phil Griego describes them and that’s how these expenditures show up on his campaign finance report.
To me, this fails the smell test. I believe it also breaks state law.
State Sen. Phil Griego, one of my opponents in the June Democratic primary, spent thousands of dollars of campaign contributions last year to buy NFL football tickets and fix his personal vehicle. He paid off his credit card, bought $7,500 in new furniture and spent almost $10,000 playing golf.
In fact, in the last two years, when his seat was not up for re-election, Griego raised almost $92,000, primarily from large corporations and lobbyists, and spent nearly $83,000 on so-called constituent services.
As a lifelong advocate for open and ethical government, this is a real problem to me. Clearly, Phil Griego has strayed far from the path of responsible and accountable government for New Mexicans.
State law forbids elected officials from using their campaign funds for personal expenses. On numerous occasions I believe Senator Griego has broken this law, which is why I’ve asked the secretary of state to request the attorney general to investigate the senator’s finance reports. New Mexicans deserve to know.
‘Politics as usual’ needs to change
As a two-term Santa Fe County commissioner, I know that special interests do their best to influence important decisions by public officials. New Mexico has seven registered lobbyists to every elected state representative. Their presence is pervasive during the legislative sessions and in between as well.
I take my public service seriously, from my County Commission responsibilities to my Army service, and all the way back to my youth as an Eagle Scout. I’m tired of the “business as usual” culture of New Mexico politics. We can’t afford it in these tough economic times. It holds back our economy, inhibits job creation, diminishes efforts to fund education and keeps our communities from moving forward.
“Politics as usual” needs to change. Corporate interests are being placed above the interests of average, hard-working New Mexicans. We saw an example of that last session when Griego voted in committee against a bill to close the corporate tax loophole that allows out-of-state corporations to avoid paying income tax on profits earned in New Mexico, Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. Peter Wirth. Later Griego changed his vote on the floor for a watered-down version of the bill when it appeared likely to pass.
Since 2009, this commonsense bill, which would level the playing field between local New Mexico businesses and out-of-state-corporations, failed to get a hearing – a decision determined by the committee Griego chairs.
Vote for responsible and ethical government
I believe it is time to change politics as usual. If you agree, please join this reform movement that is sweeping across our state.
Go to the polls on June 5 and vote for responsible and ethical government – for Jack Sullivan in District 39 and others who will look out for New Mexico families, our small businesses and our land and water resources, not for powerful out-of-state corporations and Roundhouse lobbyists.
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