Friday, March 14, 2008

NM SoS Says Vote-buying Probe Still On

Mary Herrera Says She Hasn't Seen AG's Memo Vote-buying probe still on Mary Herrera Says She Hasn't Seen AG's Memo

Vote-buying probe still on

By Dennis Domrzalski and
Mark Bralley

Photos by Mark Bralley

New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera said late Friday that she hadn't seen a memo from the state Attorney General's Office saying it would not investigate allegations of vote buying at the recent Bernalillo County Republican Party pre-primary conventions and that her office was still pursuing the vote-buying allegations.

The AG's memo, which AG spokesman Phil Sisneros said was sent on Wednesday, said there was nothing the AG could do about the allegations because political party conventions are private affairs that aren't governed by the New Mexico Election Code.

"We have not seen a memo from the Attorney General's Office," Herrera said. "We have been trying to get hold of them all day."

Herrera added that her Bureau of Elections Director Daniel Miera had been unable to contact the assistant attorney general who is assigned to represent her office. The AG's Office is the SoS's lawyer.

As we reported earlier today, the AG might have gotten it wrong in saying that party conventions aren't subject to state election law. According to the state election code:

1-7-1. Political parties; conditions for use of ballot. (1969)

All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [ 1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.

AG Office spokesman Sisneros said he couldn’t release the memo because of attorney-client privilege concerns.

Sisneros did leave open the possibility that the AG's Office will take up the investigation again.

"They ( SoS) need to do their due diligence and provide us some evidence," Sisneros said. "They are supposed to do the initial inquiry. So far, that is what we are we are waiting on."

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