New Mexico – Today, DPNM Executive Director Joe Kabourek, called on the N.M. Secretary of State to look into possible coordination of a Governor Susana Martinez appointed Judge, Stephen French, and a dark-money PAC. While the period for formal complaints is closed, such major violations deserve special attention.
“A dark-money PAC, Justice First NM, appeared out of nowhere this past week,” said Kabourek. “Once you do your research, you can connect the dots pretty quickly. Not only were several election laws apparently violated, but all the dots connect back to the Governor’s Judge, Stephen French.”
Stephen French is running to keep his appointed seat on the NM Court of Appeals. He is also utilizing public financing under the NM Voter Action Act. His campaign would be prohibited from receiving donations from PACs, corporations and individuals. However, a secret PAC came out of nowhere, with the purpose to benefit French.
While such PACs are not illegal, it would be illegal for French, or his campaign, to coordinate with any such PACs. It is clear that PAC’s money flowed through his campaign treasurer’s office and/or his wife’s office.
“It’s a sad day to see secret money PACs infiltrating our judicial offices,” said Kabourek. “It’s especially alarming to see the close connections of this money flowing into a sitting Judge’s campaign. The Governor and her appointee have some explaining to do.”
See “Connecting the Dots” fact sheet to see the specifics.
DPNM’s letter to the Secretary of State is available here.