On Thursday, the Piñon Post’s editor, John Block, filed a New Mexico Ethics Commission complaint against New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for misuse of campaign funds by paying her daughter Erin Grisham, a cosmetologist, $1,040 for “media preparation.”
Lujan Grisham’s daughter revealed on her LinkedIn profile that she acted as a “[s]tylist and cosmetology consultant for Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor Media,” which according to state statute 126.96.36.199(B)(2) NMCA and the Secretary of State’s own guidance, violates state law.
An excerpt from the complaint:
According to an April 13, 2021 filing by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s gubernatorial campaign to the New Mexico Secretary of State (SOS), the governor paid her daughter, Erin, through an entity listed as “Beauty By Erin Grisham” $1,040 for “media preparation” on October 13, 2020 (Exhibit A).
Lujan Grisham’s campaign did not report that Erin Grisham’s services include hair and makeup, neither of which falls in the scope of what is permissible as a campaign expense.
Per state statute, “Personal use of campaign funds is any use of funds in a campaign account to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any candidate or legislator that would exist regardless of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a legislator.” 188.8.131.52(B)(2) NMCA
SOS Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s 2020 Campaign Finance Reporting Guide further affirms that “Hair, nail, or make-up expenses” are not permissible campaign expenses (Exhibit C).
Gov. Lujan Grisham’s daughter Erin has no apparent specialties in any field relating to media preparation, such as public relations or any other area that could be attributed to “media preparation,” such as speechwriting or digital media. On her LinkedIn profile, Erin Grisham explicitly states her relation to the Lujan Grisham campaign as the “[s]tylist and cosmetology consultant for Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor Media.” This admission by Erin Grisham on her professional profile proves that the $1,040 for “media preparation” cannot in any reasonable terms be explained away as media preparation other than styling and cosmetology, which are explicitly barred as an expense, per state law (Exhibit B).
Block said, “Gov. Lujan Grisham’s flagrant abuse of state law is a slap in the face to the countless hard-working New Mexicans who play by the rules. While we are expected to follow her edicts, at every corner, she has broken state laws by misusing discretionary funds for wagyu steaks and booze, paying off her alleged sexual abuse victims with campaign cash, and now openly defying the Secretary of State by funneling her donors’ funds to her own daughter for salon visits.”
“New Mexicans are sick and tired of being played for fools while our politicians do whatever they want with no consequences. No public servant—no matter if they serve on a local school board or as the chief executive—should be above the law, which is why this ethics complaint is so important,” Block added.
On Thursday, the Ethics Commission confirmed its acceptance of the complaint, writing in an email that it “meets the requirements for administrative complaints set forth in 184.108.40.206(A)(2) NMAC and will be forwarded to the respondent(s).” The Ethics Commission noted that Lujan Grisham’s campaign has been notified of the complaint and that her use of funds is being investigated.
The Piñon Post has found additional payments adding up to $6,083.88 since 2017. A full report on the additional payments will come in due course.