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August 5, 2016

The Honorable Brad Winter


Office of the Secretary of State
325 Don Gaspar Ave, Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Dear Secretary Winter:
On July 22, you forwarded me a letter outlining a complaint from an attorney by the
name of Robert Lara, which you said alleges possible violations of the Election
Code.
Mr. Laras complaint was attached. I will address each of these in turn.
First of all, in making his complaint, Mr. Lara created a form of his own design with
his own headings and terminology which nowhere appear in statute. Then he
created his so-called violations.
His first allegations are that I failed to properly disclose expenditures, and identify
specific vendors. Here is his made-up form, citing these two expenses.
Date of Expenditure Reported Name
Reported Amount
11/18/15
Citi Card
$97.20
11/7/15
Citi Card
$147.00

Reported Purpose
NHCSL, taxi, airport, meal
Hotel, FRW Convention

(The expense shown for the convention, highlighted in yellow, has been fabricated by Mr. Lara.)

Here is the actual form found in the Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS),
which is readily accessible by anyone in the public, and here is what it actually says:
DATE
NAME and ADDRESS of PAYEE
Amount
11/18/15 Citi Card PO. Box 182564, Columbus, OH 43218
$97.20
11/7/15
Citi Card PO. Box 182564, Columbus, OH 43218
$122.74

PURPOSE
NHCSL, taxi, airport, meal
Hotel, FRW Convention

The Campaign Reporting Act (CRA) addresses expenditures in 1-19-31. Contents


of report. This is what the 1-19-31 says is required in an expenditure report:

the name and address of the person or entity to whom the expenditure
was made
the amount of the expenditure
the purpose of the expenditure
the date the expenditure was made

This is all CRA says about the report. The word vendor is not found in that section,
and its application to campaign reports is made up by Mr. Lara. The credit card
company I listed was the actual payee from my campaign bank account, and I was
reimbursed for those legitimate expenditures. My report contains the payee, the
amount, the purpose and the date of each expenditure, as required by the statute.
It is consistent with the CRA for a candidate to reimburse herself for campaign
expenses. As just one example, among hundreds, my opponent, Maggie Toulouse
Oliver, has used her own personally-operated PAC, named MaggiePAC to
reimburse herself for expenses incurred:
DATE
NAME and ADDRESS of PAYEE
PURPOSE
Amount
8/20/15
Maggie Oliver, 4948 Story Rock NW, Albuquerque Reimbursement for Travel
$690.11
Ms. Toulouse names no vendor because there is no requirement for it. She herself
was the payee.
Mr. Lara goes on to allege that travel expenses and campaign expenses, are not
legitimate descriptions of the purposes of the expenditures, but again he has no
basis in rule or statute for that contention. In fact, the very name of the governing
Act itself is the Campaign Reporting Act. [Emphasis added.] And again, my
opponent Ms. Oliver and all other candidates for offices routinely report travel
expenses as a very common purpose of an expenditure.
All of my expenses in Mr. Laras second table on page 2 of 13 were properly
reported in exact compliance with the Election Code.
On that same page and carrying over to the top of page 3 of 13, Mr. Laras next
allegations are that I failed to report a purpose for other campaign expenses. To
make his case, Mr. Lara again fabricates a non-existent form, and uses fake
information, falsely alleging that certain information was left blank. Here is what he
provided you:
Date of Expenditure Reported Name
Reported Amount
6/9/16
NM Demographic Research
$6,385.50
6/10/16
Hobby Lobby
$16.94
6/22/16
Perez & Associates
$3,000.00
6/28/16
Southwest Printers
$704.23

Reported Purpose

Here is the actual form and actual report found in CFIS, and easily accessible in in
the public domain:
DATE
Amount

NAME and ADDRESS of PAYEE

PURPOSE

6/9/16
NM Demographic Research, POB 96, Roswell 88202
consultant
$6,385.50
6/10/16
Hobby Lobby, 9350 Eagle Ranch NW, Albuquerque 87114
$16.94
6/22/16
Perez & Associates, 2436 Tuscan Hills Ln, Las Cruces 88011
$3,000.00
6/28/16
Southwest Printers, 110 N. Penn, Roswell 88203
$704.23

campaign
poles for banners
monthly retainer
printed material

As you well know, the purpose of an expenditure is required to be reported under


the Act, and the word PURPOSE is in the expenditure reporting portion of the
Campaign Finance Information System as a mandatory field. It is not possible for a
report filer to list an expenditure while leaving the purpose field blank.
Mr. Lara goes on to continue to libel me, both to you and in numerous reports he
and the Toulouse campaign sent out to the presswhich quickly published them
by adding yet another false claim. He states that I used campaign funds for
personal business. To buttress this claim, again he made up a form, and he
invented its contents. Here is what he sent you:
Date of Expenditure Reported Name
Reported Amount
6/21/16
AT&T Services, Inc.
$89.19

Reported Purpose
Business

(The word Business shown in yellow, which Mr. Lara has inserted, is nowhere on the report and was
fabricated by Mr. Lara for the purpose of deceiving the Secretary of State, the media, and the voting
public.)

However, here is the actual form, and the actual reported amount found in CFIS:
DATE
Amount
6/21/16
$89.19

NAME and ADDRESS of PAYEE


AT&T Services, Inc., 20830 N. Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ, 85050

PURPOSE
Cell phone service

As you can see, Mr. Lara has deliberately written in Business to form the basis for
his complaint. But
that is purely a malicious fabrication on his part, as no such description appears
anywhere in my report.
Mr. Lara goes on to state that I did not properly identify donor occupations because I
have not identified the occupation or type of business a donor is engaged in. By
type of business the intent of the statute is not to state exactly the name of the
business the individual owns or works in. Otherwise, the attorney general, my
opponent Ms. Toulouse, and hundreds of other candidates would not constantly be
using the terms: Businessman, Business Owner, Business Executive, Business
Manager, Business, Business Consultant, Executive, and on and on. Ms.
Toulouse used these descriptions in multiple instances in her own reports. (And this
does not even begin to address the more than 50 donors to Ms. Oliversome giving
thousands of dollarswho are listed as Not Employed, or Unemployed.)

Mr. Lara goes on to state that the Secretary of State has notified all campaigns that
couples may not be listed as one contributor. Then he cites the fact that I have
received donations in which I fail to list one contributor per contribution.
I do not know of any such directive. I know of no statutory requirement concerning
this, nor of any Administrative Rule that has been adopted. Apparently, neither does
my opponent or many other candidates who have listed couples as donors. I dont
find that surprising, because the Campaign Reporting Act itself explicitly recognizes
donations from couples. It does so in 1-19-26 L by making an exception in the
definition of a political committee by clarifying that the two or more persons that
may constitute a political committee specifically does not include a husband and
wife who make a contribution out of a joint account. In this section, the statute
expressly recognizes the legality of a joint donation from a husband and wife, which
Mr. Lara claims is not allowable.
Mr. Lara finishes his complaint with a flourish by stating that Representative Zach
Cook did legal services on behalf of the campaign and it was not reported. Mr. Cook
has done no legal work for the campaign, and this is obviously a frivolous attack on
Mr. Cook, which warrants no further comment.
What does warrant comment is Mr. Laras flat-out lies and misrepresentations
regarding the contents of my reports. It is my understanding that Mr. Lara is a
licensed attorney in the state of New Mexico. I am sure he feels completely safe
from any kind of sanction for his actions because his libelous and deliberately false
statements directed at me have not been made in a court of law. But the facts are
that Mr. Lara created false and misleading documents out of whole cloth, and
provided them to the Secretary of State. He inserted words and figures he knew to
be false and non-existent into an already existing public record which already
contained the actual reported information.
Even more maliciously, Mr. Lara ERASED information from public forms and
documents, then submitted facsimiles of those altered records to the secretary of
state for the purpose of inflicting injury on my campaign and my reputation. Not
only did he do all this for a malicious and unlawful purpose, he immediately
provided his fabricated information and the accompanying lies and falsehoods both
to an unknowing media, and to his allies in media for the purpose of securing
negative publicity for me and my campaign. He was successful in securing
publication of false reports.
As a licensed attorney, Mr. Lara is subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule
16-804 states, in pertinent subparagraphs:
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or
misrepresentation;
(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(f) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or


official;
(h) engage in any conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice
law.

Additionally, under the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional


Conduct, Rule 8.4 states, in pertinent part:
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:
(c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud,
deceit or misrepresentation;
(d) Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;
(e)
State or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;

Mr. Lara has violated several provisions of these rules.

In closing, I have not violated any provision of the Campaign Reporting Act. My
reporting fully complies with both the Act, and the type of reporting conducted by
all other candidates who are in compliance with the Act.
On the other hand, Mr. Lara has committed multiple violations of the Code of
Professional Conduct for attorneys. Those violations are being forwarded to the
New Mexico Disciplinary Board in the form of a complaint.
Sincerely,
Nora Espinoza
State Representative
Chaves & Lincoln Counties