Final hearing for Sheriff Gonzales to defend campaign against fraud claims

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sheriff Manny Gonzales has one more chance to explain why his mayoral campaign deserves public financing after he and his staff are accused of breaking election rules. A judge ruled last week, that Gonzales was not afforded due process before the city clerk denied him more than $600,000.

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The clerk’s decision was based on claims the campaign submitted forged voter signatures and put up donations that were supposed to come from voters. In one instance, the city board of Ethics found Gonzales personally told a voter the campaign would cover his contribution.

City Clerk Ethan Watson says he accepts that’s board’s finding and the evidence of fraudulent signatures but to comply with the judge’s order, Watson set a hearing for Wednesday for Gonzales to make his case. A decision is expected on Friday. Gonzales has said it was all an honest mistake and accuses the clerk of political maneuvering to protect his boss and Gonzales’ opponent, Mayor Tim Keller.

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