According to a recent report, New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, reportedly used taxpayer funds to purchase personal items such as groceries, alcohol, and pay for dry cleaning.
As reported by the Sante Fe New Mexican newspaper, records of her office expenses detail that Gisrham, spent about $ 13,500 in a six-month period during 2020.
Regarding liquor expenses, purchases made during the month of September 2020 totaled more than $ 200 for five bottles of tequila, two of vodka, two bottles of wine and a bottle of whiskey and another of gin. Other luxury groceries such as tuna steaks and Wagyu beef valued at $6,500 were also recorded.
According to the report, Grisham was personally arranging meetings for staff at the governor’s mansion, while at the same time promulgating information to families not to gather, in an effort to stop the spread of the CCP (Communist Party of China) Virus, or coronavirus.
According to Grisham’s spokesman, Tripp Stelnicki, told The Associated Press, half of the $13,500 was spent on food for Cabinet members as well as the governor’s staff during the meetings.
Stelnicki affirmed that the purchase of alcoholic beverages valued at more than $200 was intended to be used for a Christmas dinner, which apparently was canceled.
Stelnicki justified the planned meetings at the governor’s office by saying, “There’s a difference between inviting someone into your house for the Super Bowl or someone’s birthday and having three or four Cabinet secretaries there to talk about their budgets amid an unprecedented economic downturn and to work out what we’re going to propose or recommend to the Legislature given the changing economic forecast.”
Rep. Rod Montoya (R-N.M.) noted, “It really appears in the Governor’s Office as if she really believes herself to be more privileged than everybody else in New Mexico.”
“I didn’t realize the governor was so underpaid that she has to use discretionary money for things that she should be paying for herself,” added Montoya who pointed out that legislators get their per diem.
Meanwhile, state House Minority Leader Jim Townsend said on the matter, “It’s not what tax dollars ought to be spent for.”
“In the time when people are hurting all over the state, using their tax dollars to buy Wagyu beef has got to be a little bit disenchanting to many people,” Townsend added.
The spending of public money took place despite a state law that was enacted in 2019, which sets new limits on the governor’s use of discretionary funds.
That law was signed by Grisham’s predecessor, former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, according to the New Mexican.
Grisham has previously come under public scrutiny after she ordered a jewelry store to open for her own profit in May 2020, defying even her own orders to quarantine nonessential businesses, according to local media outlet KRQE News 13.