New Mexico inaugural group pledges financial transparency

January 2, 2019
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Teenage country singer Chevel Sheperd (center, foreground) of New Mexico belts out "God Bless America" at the inauguration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (left center) and Lt. Gov. Howie Morales (right center) on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Santa Fe, N.M. The top job in New Mexico passed from one Latina governor to another Tuesday as Michelle Lujan Grisham succeeded termed-out Republican Susana Martinez. Nationwide, Democrats will hold 23 governorships after inaugurations.(AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A committee that organized the inauguration of Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and related gala celebrations will publish details about its spending and contributions by mid-January, a committee spokeswoman said following the New Year’s Day inaugural.

Financial records will be released on the website for the inaugural events, Inaugural Committee communications director Kier Strader-Monaghan said Tuesday. Contributions were limited by the governor to $11,000 per donor or business, she said.

Lujan Grisham’s free-admission inauguration at a convention center in downtown Santa Fe was preceded by a brunch for donors and musical entertainment for all.

Professional fundraisers for the 2011 inauguration of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez later publicly voiced concerns about some spending. Martinez’s inaugural committee raised nearly $1 million.

Federal prosecutors are probing whether foreign interests made illegal contributions to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Tickets for Tuesday’s inaugural ballroom celebrations in Santa Fe ranged from $100 for an event at the Santa Fe Convention Center to $11,000 for seats at a sold-out event in the Eldorado Hotel.

The priciest tickets came with access to a pre-inaugural brunch, a portrait with the governor, memorabilia items and other perks.

Estimates of total contributions and spending were not yet available, Strader-Monaghan said.

Online ticket sales to ballroom events were facilitated by ActBlue Civics, an online platform for progressive social welfare organizations to raise money.

The affiliated organization ActBlue was instrumental in helping Democratic candidates in New Mexico and elsewhere round up campaign contributions in small increments for the 2018 election.

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