On Friday, Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran was charged with embezzlement, fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations by New Mexico‘s Democratic attorney general.
The 64-count complaint was filed against Duran, one of the state’s highest ranking Republicans, late Friday in a Santa Fe state district court by Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. No news conference was held or statement given by Balderas regarding the complaint. No information beyond the court filing would be released, according to James Hallinan, Balderas spokesman, who said, “Our office will proceed transparently by way of preliminary hearing.”
A confidential tip received in July of last year accusing Duran of misappropriation of campaign contributions led to the attorney general’s investigation of the secretary of state. The complaint centers on large deposits of cash and campaign contributions into both personal and campaign accounts controlled by Duran; those monetary movements often leading to spending at casinos throughout the state, according to the complaint. Subpoenas were obtained by investigators for Duran’s cash withdrawals from multiple casinos; electronic debits totaling more than $282,000 in 2014 and $147,641 in 2013 were withdrawn.
Duran’s campaign finance reports of donations and a detailed series of bank transactions were also called into question by the complaint. The charges Duran faces include violation of the state’s Governmental Conduct Act, tampering with public records, and conspiracy in addition to various misdemeanor and felony embezzlement and money laundering charges.
For months, campaign finance reports have been the source of contention between Duran and Balderas, and in February a joint task force was assembled by the two to study the enforcement and reporting of campaign finance laws.
The first Republican to be elected as secretary of state in eight years, Duran, a former Otero County clerk, is serving her second term in the office.