Report: Governor’s spending from fund was OK but law unclear

July 16, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The State Auditor’s Office says New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spending from her contingency fund for items such as food and alcohol apparently didn’t violate the law but said lawmakers should consider tightening up on what spending is allowed.

The office’s report released Wednesday said state law is unclear concerning on particular expenses are directly connected with the governor’s duties or are privileges or allowances for state employees, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The governor’s $96,000 contingency fund has been an ongoing source of criticism and political attacks against Lujan Grisham as the first-term Democrat seeks reelection in 2022 amid revelations that her office spent taxpayer money on such items as Wagyu beef, tuna steaks, bottles of alcohol and dry cleaning.

Auditor Brian Colon said lawmakers should “contemplate reviewing this statute and coming up with an updated statute if they’re uncomfortable with the current approach on this contingency fund.”