Democrats and Republicans locked in highly charged battles over problems at the Albuquerque Public Schools and the work of the state auditor, among other issues, put their guns down over the weekend, at least temporarily, after Secretary of State Dianna Duran was charged with abusing the New Mexico’s campaign finance system. The allegations come from the office of Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat who accuses Duran, a Republican, of fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and other charges. Duran allegedly used funds intended for her campaign instead for personal use — apparently including gambling. Instead of responding to the charges by accusing Balderas of partisan motives, the state’s top Republicans issued statements that some interpreted as placing distance between themselves and Duran — or at least not wanting to be viewed as defending her.
“We respect Dianna Duran and her legal team’s rights to present the facts and defend these allegations,” said Deborah Maestas, who chairs the Republican Party of New Mexico. “However if allegations are true, she needs to be fully accountable under the law. The attorney general must hold elected officials of both parties to the same legal and ethical standards without partisan bias.”
Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, issued a similar statement after meeting with Balderas.
“These allegations are deeply troubling and concerning, and all relevant state agencies have and will continue to assist the attorney general throughout the process,” Martinez said. “It’s important that New Mexicans understand that no one is above the law and that every New Mexican is treated equally under our system.”