According to a report by the Rio Grande Sun, an ethics case filed against State Treasurer Laura Montoya, a Democrat, is going forward. The complaint, made by Montoya’s predecessor, former State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, also a Democrat, alleges Montoya failed to properly report $10,000 in campaign contributions, falsely claiming the money came from two LLCs.
“Eichenberg alleged Montoya violated New Mexico’s Campaign Reporting Act when she accepted two $5,000 checks from LLCs registered with the names Sheriff’s Posse Road 1 and 2 but falsely reported the money came from Adelante Sandoval, a Bernalillo-based PAC, according to State Ethics Commission records made public Friday,” the report detailed.
The LLCs are named Sheriff’s Posse Road 1, LLC, and Sheriff’s Posse Road 2, LLC, managed by Oklahoma resident Gary Plante. Adelante Sandoval, the PAC, was founded by Chris Daul, a New Jersey trial attorney, and New Mexico transplant.
Records show the $10,000 was donated to Montoya following a luncheon with Monoya’s campaign treasurer, Donald “Donnie” Leonard, Plante, Plante’s son, Michael, and others. Following the luncheon, Leonard testified that he and Plante went to the bank to withdraw two cashier’s checks for $5,000 each from the LLCs.
The Sun further reports:
Mr. Plante testified that Mr. Leonard provided Adelante Sandoval’s name to the woman issuing the checks and that Leonard “delivered the checks to Adelante Sandoval,” whose two owners, including Plante, were “private people” who wished to act as a conduit for the $10,000 contribution, the filings show.
“Mr. Leonard testified that he did not recall delivering the check…Plante denied making contributions to Adelante Sandoval with the intent to mask the true source of the contributions to [Montoya},” Boyd wrote.
Daul, who manages the Adelante Sandoval Pac, told Boyd he “did not recall when or how I received the two hecks…the two checks may have been handed to me, but I cannot be certain.”
After reviewing evidence in the case, Boyd found it “likely [Montoya] provided Mr. Daul with the earmarking instruction” regarding the LLCs.
Ethics Commission General Counsel Walker Boyd later found “probable cause” for the case to move forward. Boyd found that the $10,000 cash infusion “came at a critical time in the primary election cycle” and “Without the $10,000 contribution, [Montoya] would have raised less money than her opponent.”
Montoya also consulted with Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver via text message to see how to report the contributions, according to commission filings.
The case is set to be heard by Ethics Commission Hearing Officer Hon. Alan Torgerson (ret.), a former federal magistrate judge. Montoya could face fines of $1,000 for each campaign reporting violation and forfeiture of the two $5,000 checks.