Gonzales fined over campaign signatures; judge orders city clerk to hold another hearing

Local Elections

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sheriff Manny Gonzales could be getting a second chance at thousands in public financing for his mayoral bid. The city clerk denied Gonzales $600,000 in public financing stating he broke the rules after a voter came forward saying the sheriff’s campaign offered to cover a $5 contribution for a signature among other questions about signatures collected.

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City election laws require donations from one percent of registered city voters. Gonzales’ attorneys argue it was a mistake but the City of Albuquerque’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices rules Gonzales violated campaign rules. They fined him $500 in a unanimous ruling.

“I know due process is a very flexible concept, but at the very least the candidate needs to be informed of the allegations against him or her, the candidate needs to receive an adequate explanation of the evidence against him or her, and the candidate needs to have an adequate opportunity to explain his or her position,” said District Court Judge Bryan Biedscheid.

However, in another hearing, Gonzales got promising news, this time in court. A judge ruled the clerk did not give an adequate explanation of the evidence or give Gonzales enough of a chance to explain himself. The judge ordered the city clerk to either hold another hearing for Gonzales and make a decision by the end of next week or simply grant him the public financing.

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