State treasurer’s ethics in question amid campaign finance cover-up scandal

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.

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8 thoughts on “State treasurer’s ethics in question amid campaign finance cover-up scandal”

  1. Harry Montoya, her Republican opponent, achieved 47% of the vote in 2022. This was the best performance of any Republican statewide candidate.

  2. Of course she won’t because the collusion of the demoncraps aided and abetted by secretary of state toulouse have been getting away with continued corruption for years. The surprise here is that the charges are being brought forward by another democrat.

  3. The people here in New Mexico have to wake the heck up and realize the democrats are not there for them * or us*. They are only there to push Communism and Socialism into our state no matter what it does to us. So far they have gotten away with this because the state has full coffers of money because of the liberal governmen’ts COVID money handouts and other things that are not *reoccuring* money, and will be depleted. We must start doing the right things, and stop with the lie-beral lies that are keeping them in power. It’s time for a complete clean out of government offices, and put Constitutional law abiding people in. If i knew what it would take to run, I would because we need brave people to run our government, not cowards who hide behind lawlessness and blaming other for what they themselves are causing.

  4. Why are they even bothering with this. Why waste time and energy on something that the most they will charge her with is a $1,000.00 penalty and pay back the 10,000 to who. If she would lose her office I could see why this would make good news. Those in power in Santa Fe know how to make it seem that they really want to punish someone for not following the rules, but the punishment does not show that the rule is worth anything.

  5. Tim Eichenberg violated campaign finance law during the primary, using his official position as NM State Treasurer to endorse his hand picked successor. He also ran demonstrably slanderous ads during the primary.

    The successor had family and business ties to Eichenberg, and Treasurer Montoya had no plans to hire him as highly paid financial consultant during her term.

    This looks like a retaliatory political allegation because his hand picked successor failed to win.
    For those who don’t know, there has been a battle in factions of the Democratic party between the gentrifying neo-liberal factions, with tied to Washington DC, and those who have a rich history of New Mexico heritage and are representing our working poor.

    Laura Montoya belongs to the latter and thankfully won.

    1. A person claiming to be Heather Benavidez ( Eichenberg’s favored candidate) has been calling me late tonight and texting me threatening me regarding slander.

      I’ll put forward a possible correction, and that is the ‘random late night phone number’ claims Eichenberg filed the complaint before Ms. Montoya had won.

      This would make it further retaliation for Ms. Montoya running against his favored candidate, not specifically for winning the election (though I would consider any continued pursuit after her win to be retaliatory).

      1. Also, one more correction. I mean family ties in the colloquial sense of close friendships between families, not a strict definition which means legal family relations.

  6. Heather Benavidez

    Mr. Sonnenfeld,

    Your comment states:
    “The successor had family and business ties to Eichenberg, and Treasurer Montoya had no plans to hire him as highly paid financial consultant during her term.”

    “This looks like a retaliatory political allegation because his hand picked successor failed to win.”

    I can assure you that I have no family or business ties to Treasurer Eichenberg and there was never any talk of hiring him as a highly paid financial consultant.

    I know little of the ethics complaint filed, other than the fact that it was filed March 28, 2022, more than two months before the primary election.

    The election is over and I have nothing to do with the complaint Treasurer Eichenberg filed.

    Please stop spreading lies and slandering me.

    Heather R. Benavidez

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