What's wrong with this picture?
This mornings Journal story written by Jim Ludwick about City Council District 6 candidate Rey Garduño using a University of New Mexico e-mail account as his campaign address instantly raises ethical questions.
Garduño explained that because he is a retired UNM employee and the prohibition against using university equipment for political campaigns only applies to employees, not him and that it doesn’t cost anything.
He’s quoted as saying the “ignorance” of his critics, in not interpreting the wording of UNM rules as he does, should not mean he should change his ways.
So what's wrong with this picture?
Garduño does not have to change his ways, the university does. The New Mexico Constitution forbids the assistance of government to any private entity through what is known as the anti-donation clause.
“Neither the state, nor any county, school district, or municipality, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit, or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private Corporation….” N.M. Constitution article IX, section 14
This clause is meant to keep government from supporting activities that are not directly related to services they render. Some like the anti-donation clause; others loath it. Almost everyone in government eventually encounters the clause; most learn about it the hard way.
He’s not the first. Six years ago, then UNM professor of public administration Bruce Perlman, was campaign treasurer for mayoral candidate Martin Chávez and used his UNM e-mail account to solicit contributions. The media refused to take note.
Perlman is now Chávez’ chief administrative officer. He was the chief architect of ABQPAC, an illegal form of funneling money to Chávez. Perlman called the scheme, quoting Col. Oliver North’s congressional testimony, circumventing the U.S. Constitution, as a “neat and nifty” way, to get money to the mayor. Perlman is seen here, above left, chatting with ABQPAC’s Attorney Pat Rogers during a break in his testimony at the Jan. 10, 2003 city’s ethics board hearing.
Chávez was eventually found to have improperly taken money from people doing business with the city and from city employees. Rogers’ name is currently embroiled in the U.S. Attorney firing congressional investigation.
Though Garduño contends that using his e-mail account doesn’t cost anything, my tuition keeps going up. UNM has no choice and must shut Garduño’s campaign business out. Otherwise, it appears that they are supporting a political candidate.
As for the candidate, stuck in his ways, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Garduño’s campaign slogan that he’s “running clean” doesn’t include that he’s running ignorant himself.