RPNM Asks for Full Investigation of Keller’s Campaign’s Money Laundering Scheme by Board of Ethics, TRD, New Mexico State Police
ALBUQUERQUE – The Republican Party of New Mexico is calling upon all relevant government agencies to review Tim Keller’s practice of funneling potentially illegal campaign contributions through his political consultant in order to collect more cash in his run for mayor. As a publicly financed candidate, Keller is directly prohibited from raising additional funds, but he was caught running a scam in which donors would make cash donations to his political consultant, whose services were deemed “in-kind” by the Keller campaign. This scheme allowed Keller to pay campaign salaries and other campaign expenditures with cash collected outside his agreement to fund his campaign with public funds.
“Albuquerque voters deserve to know if the person who could be their next mayor might end up in serious legal trouble for the potential illegal money laundering scheme,” said RPNM Executive Director Michael Horanburg. “The games that Tim Keller has played with the city’s public finance system are disingenuous and likely illegal. Keller has made a mockery of his own commitment to public financing.”
Following last week’s ruling by the Albuquerque Board of Ethics & Campaign Practices that banned Keller’s in-kind contribution scheme during the runoff election, RPNM has also asked the board to review Tim Keller’s financial accounts, as well as financial accounts belonging to his political consultant, in order to assure voters that no other cash gifts have been transacted as part of Keller’s mayoral bid.
RPNM is also asking the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department to investigate the use of cash donations that were passed along as in-kind contributions. Specifically, TRD should determine whether Keller’s consultant owes federal and state taxes on the illegal contributions, which presumably qualify as revenue for a for-profit company.
RPNM will also be filing a criminal complaint with the New Mexico State Police to determine if charges should be brought against Keller or his consultants for breaking campaign finance laws.
“Keller’s campaign finance scam breaks the letter and the spirit of Albuquerque’s public financing system,” said Ryan Cangiolosi, chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico. “He and his campaign went out of their way to raise money off the books and now could potentially be facing a very steep legal price.”