New Mexico governor settles harassment complaint for $ 150,000
SANTA FE, NM (AP) – The final price of a settlement reached by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and a former campaign spokesperson to settle the harassment charges is now $ 150,000.
The latest round of payments was disclosed in a mandatory campaign finance report that the Democrat’s campaign filed on Monday. The semi-annual report on expenses and contributions shows the incumbent has raised $ 2.5 million since April for her re-election bid as several Republicans vie for the post.
GOP State Representative Rebecca Dow has raised more than $ 440,500 since her candidacy was announced in early July. Her campaign said she had received contributions from more than 1,300 donors.
In the settlement involving Lujan Grisham, former campaign staffer James Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of dropping water on his crotch and then grabbing his crotch in the middle of a staff meeting of campaign before the elections – accusations the governor denies.
Lujan Grisham said earlier this year that she decided to resolve the case because she wanted to focus her attention on the pandemic. At the time, the governor said there had been no other financial settlements or nondisclosure agreements of a similar nature.
Lujan Grisham’s political committee paid an additional $ 87,500 over the past six months to a lawyer from Hallinan, who now runs a public relations and political advisory firm. The political committee said in an April campaign spending report that it paid $ 62,500 as part of the settlement.
Campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer said in a statement the claims were unfounded and the settlement was reached in 2020 “because of the costs of trade litigation and to avoid distraction during the height of the pandemic of COVID-19 “.
The settlement has drawn criticism from Republicans and is being used as campaign fodder by rivals in the gubernatorial race. Republicans on Monday accused the governor of misleading New Mexicans by “disguising” settlement payments on campaign finance reports as legal fees, saying voters deserve a governor who insists on transparency.
The governor has also been criticized for his handling of the pandemic. Lujan Grisham’s campaign defended his record and also highlighted efforts to diversify the state’s economy and spend more on education.
Witmer said the campaign is taking nothing for granted and is in the strongest possible position as 2022 approaches.