Albuquerque, N.M. – The Democratic Party of New Mexico submitted a complaint to the New Mexico Secretary of State that revealed Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes, Republican running in House District 15, failed to disclose an illegal state contract that has paid Maestas Barnes and her husband hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past several years.
The Government Conduct Act prohibits contracts between the state and businesses owned by legislators or their families except under certain conditions, which weren’t met in this case.
“Sarah Maestas Barnes abused the public trust to line her pockets with taxpayer money,” said Joe Kabourek, Executive Director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “At a time when New Mexico’s economy is suffering, our lawmakers should take laws enforcing transparency regarding the use of taxpayer money seriously. Sarah Maestas Barnes is a lawyer, and the law is very clear. She will have to answer to the voters for this behavior.”
A company owned by Maestas Barnes’ husband, Harry Barnes Jr., is the beneficiary of a contract with the Human Services Department worth over $91,000 per year. Specifically, the new lease renewal did not go through the proper bidding process. The State law also requires that legislators disclose all contracts with the state, as well as private business interests, conducted by the legislator or their spouse.
Though the disclosure was amended in August 2016, Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes refused to disclose this information for consecutive years, pointing to an intentional disregard for the law and disrespect for New Mexico taxpayers. She also failed to disclose a number of businesses owned by her and her husband, in violation of state law.
Full version of the complaint is available here.