Reuters is reporting the Gov. Susana Martinez, R-NM, is being accused of illegally using campaign funds to advance her political agenda.
On Feb. 19, Governor Martinez called for an up-or-down vote to repeal a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Aside from angering some Hispanics, two groups are questioning the funds she used to run a radio ad endorsing the repeal of the law, reports Reuters.
The two organizations are Common Cause, a liberal advocacy group, and Somos un Pueblo Unido, an immigrants' right group. The organizations, as well as 101.1 FM KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio, are asking for a formal ruling to determine pre-campaign election funds can be used to influence legislation after the elections.
On Feb. 25, Martinez
defended called radio station 101.1 FM KSFR and confirmed that her office is investigating the issue.
"After reviewing the statutes, we believe the money spent on the radio ads does constitute an allowable expense under the campaign reporting act," said Ms. Martinez, who, on Nov. 2, 2010, was the first Hispanic female governor to be elected in the United States.
State law, according to Reuters, "generally limits the use of campaign funds to spending for campaign costs, campaign debts, donations to the state budget or charities, or to expenditures of legislators that are reasonably related to performing the duties of the office held."
Regarding the repeal of the rights of illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, Ms. Martinez said, "New Mexico could soon be the last state in the country that still issues licenses to illegal immigrants. The potential for abuse of this policy is far too high and it will only increase in the future.
"Our state has become a magnet for criminals around the world who wish to move freely around the United State without detection," she added. "I continue to call on our elected officials to uphold government's most basic duty of keeping New Mexicans safe by ceasing the issuance of driver's licenses to those who may pose a security threat to our state and our country."
According to reuters, new Mexico is one of three states that allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a license. The other two are Utah and Washington.
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