According to Monahan, Ms. de'Pascal cleared the purchase with the city attorney's office. The fact is, like it or not the purchase of a computer even a $3,000 computer is allowed by the Albuquerque Open and UN-Ethical Elections ordinance.
8. Communication Systems Purchase or lease of computers, telephone systems and other related communication devices used in campaign activities.To our knowledge, the ordinance does not address the disposition of purchased items after their use in a campaign. Besides, who would want some of the crap produced by campaigns for unsuccessful candidates (or for successful ones for that matter)?
Meanwhile over at one of the other "clean" campaigns, Rey Garduño's defending his decision to use his UNM email for campaign purposes. First of all, it's clearly unethical and according to the Journal article (Subscription) campaigning using university supplies or equipment is not allowed by UNM. Get ready for Garduño's defense... he's not a university employee because he's retired.
That's got to be the dumbest excuse we've heard in a long time. Along with the other retirement benefits that he may be receiving he's receiving a free email account from the university. Since the University of New Mexico is a state institution, it receives large amounts of tax dollars. In fact, UNM depends on tax money to stay open. That email account is no different than a pencil, or paper, postage, our tax dollars purchased the computer that hosts it, pays for the salaries of the people who maintain it, and the connection to the Internet that allows Mr. Garduño to access it.
That's the simple reason that regular employees of cities, states, and state universities are not allowed to campaign using their computers or email accounts. Retired or not, it's clearly unethical even if it's not specifically disallowed. Not to mention, there are more than enough email providers like yahoo or gmail that would provide a FREE account. Plus, since the Albuquerque Open and UN-Ethical Elections ordinance has generously provided $25,902.50 for his campaign he could easily afford a paid email account.
There's more to this little taxpayer funded fiasco. According to Paulette de'Pascal's July 13th campaign expenditure report, in addition to the dubious and legal Apple purchase she gave $400 to the Democratic Party of New Mexico. We'd love to know exactly what type of "expense" she incurred, because it looks an awful lot like a donation to her party.
We would like to believe that the original framers of this "clean" elections bill didn't intend for it to be used to fund political parties. There's something fundamentally wrong and inherently dirty when taxpayer money is given directly to political parties, and we don't care if it's Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, or the Nudists for New Mexico party. (Ok... We made that last one up.)
Whether it's an email account, an apple computer, or a donation to the party, it's all taxpayer money being spent for political purposes. The only difference between Rey Garduño's email account and Paulette de'Pascal's Apple computer is that the university recognized that state employees should not be using taxpayer money for their own political ambitions. It's a lesson that we should re-learn here in Albuquerque.