ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new battle is brewing in the race to be Albuquerque’s next mayor. One campaign group launched accusations that a candidate is breaking state and federal laws. Republican mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon is on the radio every day on the AM radio station he owns in Albuquerque. His opponents say that’s a problem.
Karen Montoya runs a political action committee for mayoral candidate Manny Gonzales. Her group just filed a complaint with the city clerk’s office saying Aragon has yet to disclose the value of the air time he’s using as an in-kind donation to his campaign. “The use of his radio station to promote his campaign, which by law is an in-kind contribution, and should be reported,” said Montoya.
Montoya says Aragon is also violating FCC equal time provisions for candidates. “He would have to be allowing the other candidates to have the same amount of time as him on his radio station,” Montoya said.
“And every single day on my station I say, ‘hey Tim, Manny, you guys can come on,’ in fact, Manny has been into my station and has been on without any charge whatsoever,” Aragon said.
According to Aragon, that invitation satisfies the legal requirement of equal time but his lawyer’s own guidance, in a letter, is more specific. Aragon insists his air time is not an in-kind donation to his campaign. “It’s not an in-kind contribution, I don’t have to report it as an in-kind contribution because I’m offering it free of charge,” Aragon said.
The Gonzales campaign commented on the complaint saying in part:
“Eddie Aragon is in clear violation of both FCC regulations and local election law. He has never contacted us and inviting opposing candidates on as his guests is a sham and nowhere close to complying with the equal treatment requirements under FCC law.”
The Keller campaign declined to comment on the allegations.