High court sets hearing in campaign dispute

August 7, 2014 • State News

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s highest court plans a [auth] hearing later this month on a lawsuit by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gary King in a dispute over campaign contributions.

At issue in the case before the state Supreme Court is a state law that limits individuals and political action committees to giving no more than $5,200 for a primary election and $5,200 for a general election.

The court on Wednesday scheduled an Aug. 28 hearing and issued an order blocking Secretary of State Dianna Duran from forcing King to give up $10,900 in contributions that her office says exceed the state caps because the money was given after the June 3 primary election.

King received $10,400 each from Ed and Trudy Healy of Taos on June 25, and $5,700 from Amelia Carson of Santa Fe on June 28.

Duran contends that’s $10,400 too much from the Taos couple and $500 over the general election limit for the Santa Fe retiree.

King, a two-term attorney general, maintains the contributions were permissible because they are meant to help retire his primary election debt.

However, Duran says a candidate can’t accept contributions for the primary after the election has occurred from donors who have given the maximum amount for the general election.

The secretary of state, whose office administers election laws, had directed King’s campaign to deposit the contributions in a state elections fund. The Supreme Court’s order stops any enforcement efforts by Duran’s office.

King has said the Republican secretary of state is going after his campaign “to try and steal the election” for GOP Gov. Susana Martinez.

Duran said Wednesday she’s “very disappointed the attorney general is making such blatantly partisan remarks instead of sticking to the law and to the issue before us.”

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