The Albuquerque Journal reported today (Subscription) that besieged Councilor Don Harris has had an ethics complaint filed against him regarding a fundraiser held in June of 2006. (We mentioned the fundraiser here.) According to the Journal Harris failed to report over $30,000 in campaign contributions raised at the event held at Scalo Northern Italian Grill. Harris claims that he forgot to "finalize" his report after entering the data last year.
Our Eyes tell us that campaign reporting requires the candidate, councilor, or measure finance committee to finalize the report before the report is accepted as being properly filed. The system allows the reporting party to enter contributions and expenditures in the system as they occur which keeps them from having to enter all of the data right before the deadline. It's really a practical solution to a very real reporting problem. Without it, candidates and committees would allow reporting data to pile up and would bog down the system in the hours right before the deadline resulting in even more late reports.
Could Councilor Harris have forgotten to press the finalize button... sure. It's also possible that the councilor would have preferred not to have the fundraiser closely scrutinized by his constituents. After all, the councilor ran against former Councilor Tina Cummins at least partially on the claim that Councilor Cummins was too closely aligned with Mayor Chavez. A fundraiser orchestrated by the Almighty Mayor's fundraiser Teri Baird shortly after taking office would have looked suspicious to say the least.
Plausible deniability... a term used by ethically challenged politicians to describe the ability of their supporters to believe even the most irrefutable evidence. It's plausible that the councilor screwed up (one of many) and didn't finalize the report. It's just as plausible that he preferred keeping the fundraiser somewhat below the radar with his constituents and entered the information with the intent of claiming a "mistake" should the uh... "error" be discovered.
The interesting part of this whole recall is the fact that it is rumored that the mayor is really behind it in the first place. We haven't been able to find any direct evidence of 11th floor involvement, but we're quite sure that the mayor would jump at the chance to name Harris' replacement. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if former councilor and current transportation director Greg Payne had a behind the scenes roll. Payne is a clever and ruthless campaigner and is probably still smarting from his failure to railroad taxpayers with Marty's Folly Trolley.
No matter how this ends up, no matter who's behind it, the folks in district 9 are in a conundrum. Throw the current guy out who's been inconsistent at best, and get a councilor whose allegiance is to his honor the mayor, or keep the current guy who's not likely to forget the recall effort. Either way, it's not a pretty situation and the wheels are already in motion.
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes