State Ethics Commission clears Rep. Dow of false and baseless political complaint
Truth or Consequences – The New Mexico State Ethics Commission (SEC), late yesterday evening, dismissed the frivolous and politically motivated claims made against State Representative Rebecca Dow. The SEC provided notice to Rep. Dow of probable dismissal of the false claims filed against her. The SEC also noted in their response, Dow’s counterclaims of possible Campaign Reporting Act violations regarding the original complainant, Karen Whitlock, as well as possible violations by the New Mexico Senate Democrats PAC, and the Brian Egolf Speaker Fund PAC.
The letter to Rep. Dow finds that the claims from her political opponent, Karen Whitlock, had cause for probable dismissal. One outstanding item is still subject for review and will likely be dismissed by the SEC when they meet after the election. However, that frivolous claim has already been cleared publicly by Raul Burciaga, director of the Legislative Council Service in a Sept. 15, Silver City Daily Press article.
“I am relieved that the ethics commission is finally taking steps to address Karen Whitlock’s fraudulent and unethical complaint against me and the many false statements she made under oath,” said Representative Rebecca Dow (Truth or Consequences). “Absent an immediate and honest apology and retraction of the false claims, Karen Whitlock and her campaign will have to account for the dishonesty and mud-slinging she has brought to this race and inflicted upon our community.“
By design, complaints filed with the SEC, are meant to remain confidential. However, a press release was made available to media outlets by Whitlock’s campaign immediately upon the filing of the baseless claims. The complaint was filed against Representative Dow during a “blackout” period (60 days prior to any election) that the SEC designed to prevent the commission from being used as a tool by candidates in an election year. Rep. Dow immediately responded to the SEC and filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the complaint was a baseless political ploy.
Rep. Dow’s dismissal request additionally brought to light potential Campaign Reporting Act violations. It was discovered that Grindstone Research, LLP used the Inspection of Public Records Act to “research” the documentation used in the false ethics complaint. Whitlock does not identify Grindstone Research as a business expenditure or in-kind contributor in her finance reports. Grindstone was most recently paid by the New Mexico Senate Democrats PAC a payment of $12,000 in their September filing and also lists New Mexico House Democrats as a client on their website. The Senate Democrats PAC does not, to date, report contributions to Whitlock’s campaign. Whitlock does transparently report receiving $28,152.31 in in-kind contributions from the Brian Egolf Speaker Fund PAC, although the Brian Egolf Speaker Fund does not report that in their filings. The Speaker Fund does report expenditures to a business, Mailquick, which is the mail shop that has paid for the postage on the numerous campaign mailers to voters that feature the false, and now dismissed allegations.
“There’s an old saying that folks in glass houses should not throw stones, that being said, I am disappointed to see the Ethics Commission become a tool to smear the good name of tireless public servants,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia). “I am confident that Rebecca Dow will rise above these outrageous claims. I just hope that for the sake of New Mexicans, who want to trust in Santa Fe, that the apparent campaign finance violations by the Speaker and Karen Whitlock are thoroughly investigated. Many lawmakers have fought tooth and nail for transparency and those in power need to respect the rules and report correctly.”