Follow the Money In 2017 Mayor’s Race

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller announced on January 11, 2017 he is running for Mayor of Albuquerque.

Mr. Keller used an impressive, well produced video to make his announcement for mayor and no doubt it was costly.

In his announcement Tim Keller says “Let’s elect a Mayor without the big money we’ve come to expect in politics. That’s why we are running a community-driven, publicly financed campaign that fits the future of Albuquerque.”

Mr. Keller has elected to seek public financing and not private financing to run for mayor.

I can understand why Mr. Keller would complain about spending “big money” in politics seeing as he played that game himself just over two years ago when he ran for State Auditor and won.

According to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office and campaign finance reports filed, Mr. Keller received contributions of $487,276.66 and had expenditures of $545,372 as a candidate for New Mexico State Auditor, a four year term he will not finish if elected Mayor of Albuquerque in October.


The position of New Mexico State Auditor pays $85,000 a year.

The next Mayor of Albuquerque will be paid $125,000 a year.

Under Albuquerque’s public finance laws, you must collect 3,600 qualifying $5 donations and then you are given approximately $379,000 for your campaign for Mayor.

According to the Albuquerque City Clerk’s calendar for Mayor, candidates for Mayor can start to collect the qualifying $5 donations on February 16, 2017 and can collect seed money of up to $100 from donors. (

According to the New Mexico Secretary of State First Biannual “Report of Expenditures and Contributions” filed on April 11, 2016, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller had $37,755 total monetary in contributions and had total expenditures of $27,081.10 for the reporting period and paid $22,944.57 to a firm listed as “Full Arsenal” for “consulting”.

According to the Second Biannial “Report of Expenditures and Contributions” filed on October 11, 2016 for the reporting period, Mr. Keller had $14,900 total monetary contributions with total expenditure of $25,414.00 and paid $14,018.63 to “Rio Strategies”.

Both “Full Arsenal” and “Rio Strategies” have the identical business address according to the Secretary of State online records.

Perhaps during the course of his campaign for Mayor, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller will disclose to the press and voting public exactly what was the “consulting” and services performed for him by Full Arsenal and Rio Strategies and why did he need “consulting” as the New Mexico State Auditor and were those firms paid to do work for the State of New Mexico.

Additionally it will be interesting to find out if Full Arsenal and Rio Strategies have been doing work and paid to do work on Keller’s campaign for Mayor of Albuquerque for the past year even before he announced and even before he has qualified for public financing.

It is very noble and commendable that any candidate for Mayor and city council would seek public financing to run their campaign, just as long as that is what really happens.

It was made clear to me when I ran for mayor four 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 poltical 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.

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.