ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – First, they caused debate because they played off a well-known tourism campaign. Now the New Mexico Truth parody campaign is under investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office after a lawmaker raised concerns.
State Representative Monica Youngblood, a Republican from Albuquerque representing District 68, has filed a complaint against the organization behind the ads, but Catholic Health Initiatives St. Joseph’s Children says it did not violate the election code.
Youngblood last month requested the Secretary of State’s Office to investigate for possible violation of the Lobbyist Regulation Act.
“To see something like this to degrade our state, it’s frustrating. With that, they have every right to do it, but they need to register as a lobbyist organization that they are,” Youngblood said.
Allen Sanchez, president of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, said New Mexico Truth sheds light about the state’s children’s issues.
“New Mexico Truth is bigger than any lobbying effort. That’s why we created these commercials as an educational campaign. And we have a right to run educational campaign,” Sanchez said.
In her complaint, Youngblood said the ads were aired during the legislative session “with the clear intent to influence legislation.” In this case, she pointed to House Joint Resolution 10, which dealt with early childhood funding.
Sanchez maintained, “The ad was not a political ad. It doesn’t ask anybody to do anything but rather raise their conscience.”
Youngblood told KRQE News 13, “It is political, and it’s obviously a disappointment.”
For now, the Secretary of State’s Office will take a look at those ads that caused so many double takes when they premiered in January.
Youngblood said she is a proponent of early childhood education. CHI St. Joseph’s Children said the state is in a crisis when it comes to children’s issues.
The organization said it vows to fight the ethics complaint vigorously.
The Secretary of State’s Office will determine if a violation of the election code occurred. If so, a fine could be possible, or it could be forwarded to the Attorney General or a District Attorney.