Tierna Unruh-Enos is the managing editor and associate publisher at The Paper.

Manny Gonzales’ campaign faces a new ethics complaint that he allegedly violated both state and local laws in an effort to qualify for more than $650,000 of taxpayer funding for his mayoral campaign. Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller’s campaign filed a detailed complaint to the Albuquerque City Clerk on June 29 seeking to have Gonzales’ certification for public financing denied for submitting several forged documents as qualifying contributions for public financing.

The Paper. was the first to report that Gonzales was on track to miss the qualifying threshold for public financing. In the first 50 days of the 60-day qualifying period, Gonzales had only submitted about 2/3 of the required 3,779 $5 contributions. But in less than a week, he submitted more than 1,000.

A review of those last-minute contributions found a host of irregularities. Many are linked to the sheriff’s personal assistant in his public office and a campaign aide close to GOP operative Jay McCleskey.

Among examples of forged documents provided by the Keller campaign in support of its complaint:

  • 10 samples of receipts for qualifying contributions where the voter’s signature does not match the individual’s voter registration card and/or a recent petition.  Most of these forgeries were countersigned by Sheriff Gonzales’ campaign spokeswoman and the executive assistant to Gonzales at the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
  • 6 samples of receipts for qualifying contributions where the campaign submitted two receipts on behalf of one voter and neither of the signatures match the individual’s voter registration card and/or petitions recently signed by the voter.
  • 6 samples of receipts for qualifying contributions where the campaign submitted two receipts on behalf of one voter and the signatures don’t match each other, and only one signature matches the voter’s registration card or recently-signed petition.

Two samples of potential signature forgery were for Janita and Timothy Luddeke. The Keller campaign says that neither Janita nor Timothy gave $5 to Gonzales’ campaign. Both said that the signature on the form was not theirs either.

The Paper. attempted to reach several voters listed in the complaint. Some hung up when reached by phone and others had not responded by press time.

This latest ethics complaint follows hot on the heels of an affidavit filed with the City of Albuquerque’s Board of Ethics on June 7 from a voter who signed a qualifying contribution form but did not make the required $5.00 accompanying contribution. Since that affidavit was filed, numerous other individuals have come forward who likewise claim that the Gonzales campaign instructed them that they did not have to personally provide the contribution to accompany their signed contribution form.

The Paper. attempted to reach the Gonzales campaign for comment but did not hear back as of press time.

If the city clerk determines there is sufficient evidence to move forward with this newest complaint, he can refer the matter to the city’s ethics board for an investigation and hearing.

Read the full complaint here:

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Tierna Unruh-Enos is the managing editor and associate publisher at The Paper.

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