New Mexico’s sitting secretary of state, who was elected in 2010 promising to push voter ID laws, has been charged with a long list of crimes, including corruption, and now identity theft.
Dianna K. Duran was elected promising to crack down on a “culture of corruption” now stands accused of “using her election fund as a personal piggy bank at jewelry stores, ATMs and casinos,” according to the Los Angeles Times:
Secretary of State Dianna K. Duran already faces allegations of financial crimes, stemming from a separate August indictment.
Late Friday, the New Mexico attorney general’s office alleged in a criminal complaint that Duran also falsified campaign finance reports by forging the name of a former state Senate colleague and claiming him as her campaign treasurer.
The attorney general says Duran traveled to casinos all across the state to gamble, withdrawing $430,000 from her personal accounts, as she deposited campaign funds into those same accounts. The criminal complaint says that after receiving a tip about Duran’s alleged activities, authorities found huge cash transfers between Duran’s accounts.
Records of campaign donations also appear to be dishonest. In one case, a donation from Mack Energy of $5,200 was entered in campaign finance reports as $2,900.
Duran campaigned in 2010 making wild accusations of voter fraud, pushing voter ID as a solution. Studies have shown that pushes for voter ID cut down on voting participation from younger and minority voters, who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters.
After assuming office in 2011, Duran alleged that 64,000 New Mexico voters – 5% of all of the state’s registered voters – were fraudulent. Duran also used her office to send out mailers to 177,000 voters with a confusing message about attempting to clean up voter rolls, an apparent attempt to suppress those votes.
Now it appears that while Duran was working from the conservative Republican playbook on voter fraud and voter ID, she was reportedly busy illegally letting it ride at the casinos with campaign cash.
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