HIGH-LEVEL NEW MEXICO DEMOCRATS HIT WITH ETHICS AND BAR COMPLAINTS CITING ELECTION FRAUD, CORRUPTION, AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS
Guest post by the Editor of the Estancia News
Ethics and state bar complaints were filed earlier this month against multiple high-level Democrats by a grassroots New Mexico leader who has been combating corruption in the state. The list includes Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, former State Auditor Brian Colon, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State Mayna Erika Myers.
The allegations made in the complaints include election fraud, corruption, and campaign finance violations. The complaints recommend criminal investigations for the elected officials. The violations are shocking even for a state as corrupt as New Mexico.
SECRETARY OF STATE MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER AND LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY OF STATE MAYNA ERIKA MYERS COLLUDED TO DEFRAUD NEW MEXICO VOTERS?
The ethics complaints against Toulouse Oliver and Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State, Mayna Erika Myers, either paints a picture of gross incompetence or a scheme to collude with one another to defraud New Mexicans of their votes in the June and November 2022 elections.
SOS Toulouse Oliver is familiar to our readers as we have covered her lies, statutory violations, and corruption extensively in the Estancia News. Mayna Erika Myers is a twice-failed libertarian candidate who ran for State Senate in 2020, and for SOS in the 2022 Primary and General elections. (https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/03/soros-backed-nm-sos-caught-lying-to-legislature-nm-election-system-completely-exposed-to-the-internet/ , https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/03/exclusive-new-mexico-soros-backed-secretary-of-state-maggie-toulouse-oliver-covering-up-use-of-illegal-software-to-combine-election-results-breaking-several-state-and-local-laws-in-the-process/, https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/02/new-mexicos-corrupt-sos-maggie-toulouse-oliver-tied-twitters-illegal-speech-suppression-scheme-violated-first-amendment-rights-new-mexicans/)
Among the duties of the SOS, is to receive forms and reports from campaigns, ensure eligibility to run for office, issue Certificates of Candidacy to candidates that meet all the statutory requirement to appear on a ballot, and then to monitor campaign finance reports for compliance with the law.
Amazingly, Libertarian SOS candidate, Mayna Erika Myers, met almost none of the requirements to appear on a ballot in either the 2022 Primary or General elections and had, in fact, moved out of state before the primary election even took place. Yet, Toulouse Oliver placed her on the ballot for both elections, directly benefitting herself and tipping scales in her own favor in the office she was seeking to retain.
The ethics complaint establishes that the only paperwork Myers filed was the initial financial disclosure statement required from all candidates. There is no record that signature forms were ever turned in, or a certification of candidacy issued. There was no campaign committee registration, and no campaign finance reports are documented for the 2022 election year – though the reports are required from all candidates even if they raise and spend no money.
Myers herself posted on social media that she had moved to Washington state in March of 2022. Meaning, even if her paperwork had been in order, she was no longer eligible to run for office in New Mexico. And even if it was too late to take her name off the ballot for the June 2022 Primary, she certainly shouldn’t have been listed on the ballot in the November 2022 election.
The dereliction of duty when it comes to Myers on the part of the Toulouse Oliver is particularly astounding, as it highlights her extreme corruption and partisanship. Toulouse Oliver assisted in the criminal witch hunt against Commissioner Couy Griffin because he had registered his organization called Cowboys for Trump as a for-profit organization, which does not have to disclose names of individual donors. The SOS argued that it should have been registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC), which would be subject to disclosure of all donors. Griffin believed that the SOS was trying to force the exposure of the names of supporters so they could be harassed as Griffin has been. An Otero County jury agreed with Griffin and acquitted him of all criminal charges brought by state officials. (https://www.koat.com/article/couy-griffin-found-not-guilty-of-campaign-finance-charge/43159468)
Like her persecution of Commissioner Griffin, Toulouse Oliver recently announced she is “reviewing legal theories” to keep Donald Trump off the ballot in New Mexico in 2024. (https://pinonpost.com/sos-toulouse-oliver-reviewing-ways-trump-could-be-booted-from-nm-ballot/) Trump is the clear frontrunner for the Republican party primary according to dozens of recent polls, and his popularity is growing. Using corruption to keep the opposition’s choice off the ballot is a tactic previously reserved for tyrants in banana republics.
So why would Toulouse Oliver allow an illegal candidate on the ballot for a race she was running for? The complaint states:
“Election fraud, sometimes referred to as election manipulation, voter fraud or vote rigging, involves illegal interference with the process of an election, either by increasing the vote share of a favored candidate, depression the vote share of rival candidates or both. It appears that Ms. Toulouse Oliver did both by having an unqualified candidate on the ballot for the office she, herself, was seeking to retain.”
The margin of victory in the SOS race over the Republican candidate, Audrey Trujillo, was 83,763 votes. Myers illegally garnered 20,050 votes without any campaign whatsoever – 2,663 more votes than the Libertarian candidate for governor who had a significant campaign effort.
A Libertarian candidate for SOS is more likely to shave votes away from the Republican candidate than from a Democrat, meaning keeping Myers on the ballot illegally would directly benefit Toulouse Oliver. Without the unqualified, third-party Myers on the ballot, Toulouse Oliver’s margin of victory could have shrunk significantly.
According to the complaint, Toulouse Olive also acted as special benefactor to Myers when she waived a total of $8,500 in fines accrued by Myers and her husband during previous election cycles where the two had run for office.
MAGGIE TOULOUSE OLIVER
UNFIT TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFICE: FORMER STATE AUDITOR BRIAN COLON HAS A HISTORY OF FLAUNTING CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW
Brian Colon is an attorney and was the State Auditor from 2019 until 2023. Colon sought a promotion to Attorney General during the 2022 Primary Election but lost to Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez. Torrez got his start as District Attorney with funding from George Soros where his policies resulted in an explosion of violent crime in Albuquerque. (https://www.nmlegis.gov/Entity/LFC/Documents/Program_Evaluation_Progress_Reports/LFC Crime Memo FINAL 2022.pdf)
Colon came to the aid of the SOS in January 2022 when he assisted her in carrying out a national smear campaign against the Otero County Commission who had initiated an independent audit of their 2020 election at the request of their constituents. Almost immediately after the Commission voted to proceed with the audit, Colon went on the Rachel Maddow Show to say he had opened an investigation into whether $50,000 allocated for the audit was a violation of the procurement code based on information from an “anonymous whistleblower.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tKgyFLyy1c )
The “anonymous whistleblower” was actually an Otero County Democrat operative and failed candidate named Donna Swanson. (https://www.dpoc.org/donna-swanson) The complaint never mentioned the procurement code as Colon claimed on national TV but was a partisan protest to the commission’s vote to approve the audit. Swanson’s complaint also requested that the SOS to shut down the first amendment rights of a local group who had paid for a billboard in town that stated, “We support the Unvaxxed.” Swanson said the billboard was “anti science, a health issue. Otero County is out of control! Please help us!” The handwritten, unhinged rant Colon told Maddow was the basis for his “investigation” is shown below:
COMPLAINT FROM DEMOCRAT OPERATIVE AUDITOR COLON CLAIMED WAS “ANONYMOUS WHISTLEBLOWER”
A clear reading of the law indicates there was no violation of the procurement code as the Commission had full authority to spend up to $50,000 without triggering the procurement requirements. The audit of the 2020 election was published in 2022 and ended up costing Otero County a mere $10,000. (https://dow9ovycsk6w7.cloudfront.net/media_items/69241-Otero_County_Audit_Report.pdf?1660596423) More importantly, no finding of impropriety was ever produced by Colon’s office.
The extreme irony of Colon participating in this smear campaign against the Otero County Commission over the legal use of money for an audit, is that Brian Colon had himself incurred $50,000 in fines for blatant violation of multiple campaign finance laws of New Mexico. These excessive fines still appear as accrued by Colon on the SOS’s website, and the SOS is doing nothing to force Colon to comply with state law or pay his fines.
The complaint against Colon is lengthy and cites multiple violations found in his own campaign finance reports. For example, he reported receiving a total of $5,100 in donations from anonymous sources. According to state law, no more than $2,000 may be accepted from anonymous sources for a statewide race.
That is only the beginning of Colon’s illegal acceptance of campaign funds. State law prohibits any person or political committee from donating more than $5,200 in a primary election, or $5,200 during a general election. It is not illegal to accept donations for the general election before the primary is held, but if a candidate does not make it through the primary process, he must return any money donated in excess of $5,200.
Colon accepted donations of approximately $10,000 from no fewer than 36 donors, totaling about $350,000. He should have returned approximately $175,000 but has so far failed to do so.
Not only did Colon accept illegal donations, but he also appears to have illegally spent them. Colon listed at least two out-of-state traveling expenses, and annual membership dues to the NAACP as campaign expenses. Colon paid a large bill to SDC Broadcasting months after he had lost the primary and he appears to have paid a $500 fine to the SOS using campaign funds. All these expenses are questionable.
Issues of campaign finance violations can be handled by the SOS office, but the complaint requests these matters be handled by law enforcement, as Toulouse Oliver personally donated to Colon’s campaign after he lost his primary. A clear conflict of interest should bar Toulouse Oliver from potentially destroying a legitimate investigation into Colon’s activities.
A complaint against Brian Colon’s law license was also filed with the New Mexico State Bar concurrent with the ethics complaint. The bar complaint states, “Rules of Professional Conduct are in place to ensure the profession is represented by people of ethical character with a moral compass. As public servants they are to be held to a higher standard.” The violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys alleged by the complaint include: “Commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects” and “engage in conduct involving dishonest, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
FORMER STATE AUDITOR BRIAN COLON
MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM HIDES DONORS AND PILES UP FINES
Complaints were also filed against Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham with both the Ethics Committee and the New Mexico State Bar. Grisham accepted $6,089 from anonymous donors around the time of the November 2022 election – a clear violation of the maximum anonymous donation limit of $2,000. The only Candidate Campaign Committee Registration for Grisham displayed by the SOS is an unsigned form from 2016. This brings into question whether she ever filed the proper paperwork to run for reelection in 2022, or if her paperwork was complete in 2016 – since the form was unsigned.
Grisham also listed multiple out-of-state travel expenses as campaign expenses. She even listed payments of what appear to be healthcare expenses to BlueCross BlueShield and United Healthcare totaling $2,806. Grisham has been fined in the past for violating campaign finance laws.
Campaign finance violations are shaping up to be the least of Grisham’s worries as she is facing calls for impeachment and fierce opposition, even from within her own party, over her recent attempt to cancel second amendment rights in Albuquerque using a “health emergency.” The previously mentioned Attorney General, Raul Torrez, even issued a statement that the state would not defend Grisham from any lawsuits resulting from her unconstitutional order. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new-mexico-governor-suspends-2nd-amendment-rights-floats-arrest-of-conceal-carry-holders/ar-AA1gudhm – :~:text=Just%20in%20case%20you%20haven%27t%20heard%2C%20Grisham%20sent,–%20not%20a%20duly%20elected%20United%20States%20official., https://www.sfreporter.com/news/2023/09/12/ag-torrez-says-he-wont-defend-governor-on-gun-cases/)
ELON MUSK CALLS FOR GRISHAM’S REMOVAL ON TWITTER
LT. GOVERNOR, HOWIE MORALES, ALSO PLAGUED BY CAMPAIGN FINANCE VIOLATIONS
The ethics complaint filed against Lt. Governor Howie Morales states that he took a total of $10,200 in anonymous donations – greatly exceeding the $2,000 limit.
According to the SOS’s records, the most recent Candidate Campaign Committee Registration was filed in 2013 when Morales was a state senator, and the form was never signed. It appears that Morales has gone through several election cycles without updating his campaign committee registration.
Like many of his fellow Democrats, Morales has substantial unpaid fines for his campaign finance violations – $15,000 according to the SOS, as well as multiple expenses for travel to California during the legislative session.
LT. GOVERNOR HOWIE MORALES
ARE THESE OFFICIALS FIT TO SERVE?
All the complaints filed against these high-level Democrats cite New Mexico Statute 10-16-3, which states:
“Legislators and public officers and employees shall conduct themselves in a manner that justifies the confidence placed in them by the people, at all times maintaining the integrity and discharging ethically the high responsibilities of public service.”
The gross violations of campaign finance detailed in the complaints for all these elected officials, coupled with the fact that many of them have significant unpaid fines outstanding, suggest that these elected officials view themselves as being above the law.
Worst of all, the appearance that a sitting SOS allowed an ineligible candidate on the ballot in 2022 that was not even living in the state to siphon votes away from her opponent is egregious and deserves a criminal investigation. The fact SOS Toulouse Oliver appears to be incapable of enforcing campaign finance law when it comes to members of her own party also points to deep corruption within the state government of New Mexico.