In the ongoing case against mayoral candidate and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, City Clerk Ethan Watson squeaked in a decision just before the 5 pm deadline set by a District Court judge on whether or not to give Gonzales another hearing to argue that he should qualify for public financing.
On Friday, following the city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practice hearing, District Court Judge Bryan Biedscheid held a hearing on whether City Clerk Ethan Watson’s decision to deny the Gonzales Campaign public financing would stand. After arguments from attorneys from the Keller campaign and the Gonzales campaign, the judge overturned Watson’s decision to withhold over $600,000 in public financing due to lack of due process by which Watson made his decision to deny the public funding.
“Following the District Court ruling last week, I have elected to afford Sheriff Gonzales a hearing during which he can address the matters related to whether he met the requirements to be certified for public financing,” said Watson. “I provided Mr. Gonzales the attached notice to ensure he understands the issues that will bear on my decision.”
The issues Watson is referring to are the numerous instances of fraudulent voter signatures and donations, which Gonzales himself admitted to. Last Friday, the City Board of Ethics and Commissions fined the Gonzales campaign $500 for allegations of fraudulent voter signatures and campaign contributions.
Watson says he will make his final determination on whether the Gonzales campaign will receive over $600,000 in public financing on Friday, Sept. 3.
The public hearing will be broadcast at Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 9am on GOVTV Channel 16 or on GOVTV’s YouTube channel.