State Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas is being called out for failing to report thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from political committees and lobbyists last year.
In the last several days, since KOB-TV began reporting on the situation, Maestas has filed amendments to his 2014 campaign finance reports to include contributions lobbyists and PACs stated they gave him on their own finance reports — donations he initially omitted from his reports. The Albuquerque Democrat has also filed some amendments to reports from the 2012 election cycle.
The amended reports list Maestas as his own campaign treasurer. The previous reports listed Kenneth Owens of Albuquerque as treasurer.
The situation comes to light as the House Democratic caucus, of which Maestas is a member, has pushed to hold possible impeachment proceedings for Secretary of State Dianna Duran. The Republican is charged with 64 counts related to abusing the state’s campaign finance system.
Among the allegations in that case is that Duran failed to report contributions, instead depositing campaign checks into her personal bank account to keep it in the black while she gambled at several New Mexico casinos.
In the case of Maestas, KOB reported that the state lawmaker provided the news organization with “copies of cashed checks and bank statements” to prove that the money was deposited into his campaign account.
“I want to thank KOB for bringing this issue to my attention and I take full responsibility for any inaccuracies in my reports,” Maestas said in a statement to KOB.” Upon receiving verification from the bank that these checks were deposited into my campaign account, I amended my reports accordingly.”
Maestas hasn’t responded to emails sent late Saturday and early Tuesday by NMPolitics.net seeking copies of those financial documents and asking other questions about the situation.
KOB said it identified six PACs and four lobbyists that reported donations Maestas initially did not. Their contributions added up to $4,250.
The news organization said there are still questions about what Maestas did with some of his money. It identified three times in 2014 that Maestas took $1,000 in cash from his campaign account for “paid canvassing teams.” State law, according to KOB, requires cutting checks for amounts that large so those being paid are identified on campaign finance reports.
KOB didn’t identify the law to which it was referring. It may have been the law that limits petty cash withdrawals from campaign accounts to $100.
You can watch KOB’s Friday report on Maestas failing to report contributions here:
This is the second time this year that KOB has called out Maestas. In February, the station reported that the lawmaker was more than two months late in filing a required finance report.
“There’s no excuse, it’ll never happen again,” Maestas told KOB in February. “We weren’t trying to hide anything. I just — my campaign didn’t get it done; I take full responsibility.”
You can watch that February report here: