Our View: Strengthen city’s finance law

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Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Santa Fe’s campaign finance law needs work. Its purpose — to keep special-interest money out of city elections — remains worthwhile, even noble. But we are troubled over the decision earlier this week by the city Ethics and Campaign Review Board that it lacks jurisdiction over what happens before a candidate decides to use public financing.

The facts are clear. Earlier this year, longtime City Councilor Patti Bushee was thinking about running for mayor. She did not know whether she would seek public financing. In fact, she was ready to go private and fundraise. To that end, she hired a political consultant. That consultant, Tarin Nix, was paid $1,750 for services in June. She was let go by the Bushee campaign two days later.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Staci Benni posted at 7:20 am on Sat, Dec 21, 2013.

    Sta Benni Posts: 170

    How interesting that the paper only focuses on the Bushee issue. What aBout Work American? How is that PAC keeping special interest money out of the election? Or are unions not considered "special interests" in the city different? And what about the Democratic Party supporrting only one of the 4 candidates--all of whom are Democrats-- in a non partisan election. I for one could use less of that party's chair's braying and his dog that loves to sniff women's crotches at public meetings where it is allowed to run off leash.

  • Jane Dickenson posted at 2:31 pm on Wed, Dec 18, 2013.

    JaneDickenson Posts: 13

    I feel bad for all of the people the Patti Bushee campaign is attacking.

  • Daniel Chacon posted at 12:34 pm on Wed, Dec 18, 2013.

    Daniel Chacon Posts: 18 Staff

    Mr. Borton,

    Tarin Nix told the city's Ethics and Campaign Review Board on Tuesday that she was paid $1,750 and then let go two days later. I attributed that statement to her in the story.

    "I didn't demand payment. I was owed payment," Nix told the board. "After the 15th, I was owed $1,750. On the 17th, I was let go."

    I have an audio recording of the meeting, which is why I am 100 percent certain that I didn't inaccurately report what Nix told the board.

    Please call me at 986-3089 if you have any questions.



  • walt borton posted at 12:07 pm on Wed, Dec 18, 2013.

    waltborton Posts: 6

    And full disclosure, I am co-chair of Patti's campaign, personally dismissed Ms. Nix and was present every step of the way.

  • walt borton posted at 11:59 am on Wed, Dec 18, 2013.

    waltborton Posts: 6

    The facts may be clear in the editorial writer’s mind – but are inaccurate in this editorial.

    Tarin Nix was not paid $1750 and fired 2 days later – as Dan inaccurately reported Tuesday in his rush to get the only colorful quote of the evening, “smell test” onto the web.

    The fact, clear in documents filed with the ECRB, is Tarin Nix was fired and two days later was paid $1750.

    The fact is not, as the editorial states, that the ECRB “had little jurisdiction in the matter.”

    There was no jurisdictional issue. The ECRB opined that they could not investigate or hear an accusation of rule-breaking when no rule existed to be broken.

    The editorial echoes the accusation Patti was less than honest when she signed the financial report and the editorial states as a fact that the $100 maximum donation rule was violated.

    Again, the ECRB ruled that Patti Bushee did not break a rule because no rule existed to be broken. Had a rule existed, the campaign would have known how to proceed with the original payment to Ms. Nix and would have proceeded according to that rule.

    Now, for a little spin. This editorial implies the complaint was an effort to assure public financing purity.

    On the contrary, the original complaint has every appearance of a skillfully executed, politically motivated, attack on Patti Bushee coming from the building housing the Javier Gonzales campaign and the people occupying it.


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