ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales’ appeal for public financing was denied Monday. The Albuquerque city clerk’s office denied Gonzales’s mayoral campaign more than $600,000 in public financing after ruling that several required public contributions handed in were fraudulent. City hearing officer Ripley Harwood upheld that ruling Monday.
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“I reject the argument that ‘this happens in every campaign.’ It should not happen in any campaign, and I reject the corollary notion that some level of fraud and falsification is tolerable or okay. In my view, the Clerk has the right and the duty to deny participating candidate certification whenever fraud or falsification is discovered, without the need to first quantify it,” Harwood stated.
“Most of those contributions of issue which he now admits to be fraudulent were collected by his campaign, not by some unknown, or unknowing volunteer, but by three of the individuals designated by the campaign,” said Matt Jackson, attorney for the city clerk’s office.
Sheriff Gonzales and some of his contributors have filed a lawsuit saying they are being unjustly denied, in part, because even without the forged signatures, they had enough to qualify for public financing.