Follow the Money – If They Will Disclose It

It’s interesting what political blogger Joe Monahan had to say in a FACEBOOK comment about City Councilor Dan Lewis running for mayor:

“… [Dan] Lewis definitely running. He told me he has already raised nearly $100,000…”

It has also been reported that announced mayoral candidate Deanna Archuleta has raised $40,000.

Such fundraising activity by both may be a violation of the City of Albuquerque’s Campaign Finance Reporting and Disclosure laws.

Candidates for mayor are required to fill out detailed finance reports listing contributors, dates and amounts which are in turn reviewed for compliance by the city clerk with the finance disclosure and reporting laws, contribution limitations and for conflicts and prohibitions against donations from people who do business with the City of Albuquerque.

The 2017 campaign finance report forms are not even available from the Albuquerque City Clerk.

I doubt if Deanna Archuleta knows any better because she has never run for a City of Albuquerque elected position.

City Councilor Dan Lewis, on the other hand, should know the city’s campaign finance and reporting laws seeing as he has run twice under the ordinance for Albuquerque City Councilor and must file reports as an elected Albuquerque official.

Then you have State Auditor Tim “I am Mr. Government Finance Watch Dog” Keller who is also running for mayor.

Keller has said privately for months that he is running for mayor and that he will run as a publicly financed candidate.

For the last two years, Tim Keller has sent out quarterly fundraising letters to solicit money to use for a reelection bid as New Mexico State Auditor, yet he is running for mayor of Albuquerque.

Tim Keller needs disclose what he has already raised for his reelection for state auditor, which is reported to be substantial, after sending out his quarterly fundraising letters.

Also, you have to wonder if Keller has spent money on his Albuquerque Mayor’s race for opinion polls and paid his political consultant and campaign manager for mayor.

Do not be surprised if Keller somehow uses his “stash” to run for mayor of Albuquerque by giving the money to a measured finance committee to promote his candidacy for Mayor of Albuquerque and take advantage of public financing at the same time.

It was made clear to me when I ran for mayor three years ago, the city campaign reporting and finance laws do not allow collecting donations until the year of the election.

It is an ethical issue of the appearance of impropriety and what promises are made by candidates to get the donations, how will the money be used, who is the candidate indebted to and who will have influence over the candidate once elected to office.

That’s curious conduct from candidates who are running to hold an office where they will be taking and oath office to uphold and enforce the ordinances of the City of Albuquerque.

The influence of big corporate money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy.

Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process.

Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the final outcome.

All too often, good, decent and qualified candidates do not run because they cannot raise the money.

Albuquerque municipal elections need campaign finance reform and enforcement.

On November 28, 2016 I posted on this blog my article “2017 Mayor’s Race Needs Public Finance Reform.”

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.