Campaign 2010

Oct 21, 2008

AP - Dems: Ads Against Heinrich Break Law

The state Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about ads targeting its nominee, Martin Heinrich, in the 1st District congressional race.

Democrats allege that federal election laws were broken because there was coordination among the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico, a group called Freedom's Watch, and GOP nominee Darren White.

White, the Bernalillo County sheriff, and Heinrich, a former city councilor, are locked in a tight race for an open U.S. House seat from the Albuquerque-based district.

A spokeswoman for the state Republican Party, Shira Rawlinson, said there was no impropriety and called the complaint a "baseless and desperate" political ploy.

The complaint mailed Friday by state Democratic Chairman Brian Colon claims that two anti-Heinrich television ads that started running Oct. 14 one by the GOP committee and the other by Freedom's Watch were produced by the same firm and used the same photographs of Heinrich.

Freedom's Watch is a conservative group based in Washington, D.C., that runs ads against Democrats in congressional races.

Democrats contend there is "strong evidence" that the GOP committee's ad was coordinated with White, and therefore federal law was violated when the committee made, and White accepted, a contribution in excess of the federal limit.

Democrats also allege that the ad by Freedom's Watch was coordinated with the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico. If so, the Democrats say, the two groups violated the law that limits contributions to state political parties.

In both cases, the coordinated communications weren't reported properly to the FEC, the Democrats contend.