ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico lawmaker is questioning the oversight of how some legislative appropriations are spent. This comes amid allegations Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton funneled state funds to her nonprofits or other personal interests, detailed in the search warrant affidavit filed by the state Attorney General.
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State Sen. Jacob Candelaria is questioning a $170,000 appropriation he says was made to Williams Stapleton’s Charlie Morrisey Program at the University of New Mexico this year. He said he now wants to know why it appears there wasn’t more oversight of how that money was spent. “The annual reports that should have been submitted by UNM to the Higher Education Department detailing how this state money was spent or not spent- that’s just missing,” the Democratic senator and Senate Finance Committee member said.
He claims he looked into this appropriation after the news of the AG’s criminal investigation into Williams Stapleton broke yesterday. Candelaria is claiming his staff wasn’t able to find many records from UNM or the HED about how the money was spent.
He said he will be pushing the legislature as well as the AG’s office to do a deep dive into the potential misappropriation of state dollars not yet uncovered. “As a member of [the] Senate Finance Committee, believe me, my interest is making sure those individuals are held accountable,” he stated.
KRQE News 13 asked the HED about how the money appropriated to Williams Stapleton’s Morrisey Hall Program at UNM was spent. In a statement, they said, in part, that they don’t have records of individual line-item expenditures, but they’re now working with UNM about these concerns, and the agency will be reviewing their procurement process of all the appropriations under question.
News 13 reached out to the AG’s office late Thursday to ask if they’ll be looking into this appropriation, and they responded with the following:
“While I cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I can confirm that we are examining a broad range of evidence being gathered in the case.”Matt Baca
At a press conference Thursday, the governor said she hopes Williams Stapleton resigns if she’s indicted.