The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office has found no evidence Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham violated state campaign finance laws when she spent $6,000 on hair and makeup services, an official said in a letter Tuesday.

John Block, editor of the Piñon Post, a conservative online news site, had filed an ethics complaint against the governor in mid-May, alleging the use of those funds was a “flagrant violation” of state law.

He took issue with the governor’s decision to pay her daughter Erin Grisham, a hair and makeup specialist, $6,000 for services since 2017.

The governor’s campaign finance reports list the expenses as “media preparation” services.

Election Director Mandy Vigil wrote in her letter to Block such expenses are “reasonably attributable to the candidate’s campaign and not an expense that would have existed but for the Governor’s candidacy.”

She said her office’s 2020 Candidate Campaign Finance Reporting Guide in “no way precludes a candidate from making an expenditure on hair, makeup and nails. The key analysis is whether the expenditure is reasonably attributable to the candidate’s campaign, not solely what the expense is.”

But there are limits to such uses, Vigil wrote. She said the reporting guide makes it clear a political candidate could not use such funds to get her nails done if she was about to embark on a meet-and-greet tour in her district.

Block was not happy with Vigil’s response.

In an email, Block wrote, “Gov. Lujan Grisham’s ability to duck responsibility despite glaring evidence of shameless public corruption proves once again that New Mexico’s political system is rotted to its very core.

“Whether it be paying $62,500 in hush money to sexual accusers for crotch-grabbing incidents or delving out over $6,000 to her daughter for hair and makeup, institutions New Mexicans are supposed to rely on refuse to hold the governor accountable,” he continued.

Block was referring to the governor’s campaign, New Mexicans for Michelle, issuing five checks for $12,500 each to a former campaign staffer who accused the governor of grabbing his genitals.

Alex Curtas, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said in April those payments to James Hallinan from campaign funds were a permissible expenditure under the Campaign Finance Act.

“Since the whole thing deals with what happened during the campaign, and he was a campaign staffer, that is an acceptable use of those funds in that context,” Curtas said at the time.

Regarding Block’s complaint, Kendall Witmer, Lujan Grisham’s campaign spokeswoman, wrote in an email Tuesday, “The blatantly sexist complaint from a discredited Republican operative was frivolous and without merit.”

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(21) comments

Robert Feldner

"My corrupt partner in the SOS office investigated me and found no wrong doing"

NM last in all - this rot starts at the top with MLG

lies lies lies from liars

Khal Spencer

"I'm shocked, shocked, to see there is gambling going on in here"

"Your winnings, sir"

Khal Spencer

Its not how good you are, but whether you look good.

Lupe Molina

It is not accurate to call the Piñon Post a "news site." It is better described as a repository of conspiracy theories and fear mongering run by a man who was present at the January 6th insurrection.

Vince Czarnowski

It may be legal to expense hair and make up costs, but using those funds to pay your daughter is the definition of nepotism. It’s normally frowned upon, but the governor embraces it. Hopefully, enough voters will do something about it.

B. Rosen

I don’t care where our governor gets her hair and nails done nor do I care that she orders a few fancy meals now and again, or how much she spends doing these things….however much it is, it is a trifle in the overall scheme of things and making a big deal about it just seems petty to me. We have much more substantive issues facing our state than whether or not the governor likes fancy make up and food, don’t you think?

Bridget Harrington

Her daughter is not an approved state vendor. And she also does not live here. There are plenty of LOCAL cosmetologists that have been out of work since this started. This is pure and arrogant nepotism and should not be allowed. And...if her judges are her own staff and Democrats, of course the expense will be deemed "allowed." Have an impartial 3rd party vet this and her other sounds, per the written rules others have to follow.

Laurie Buffer

[thumbup]

Andrew Lucero

This is ridiculous. I don't care if you are Democrat, Republican or anything in between.... Anything to do with their personal grooming or apparel needs to come out of their own pocket.

Joseph Tafoya

La mordida comes in many forms.

Dan Frazier

I'm a Democrat. But I am not going to defend the governor. Many of her actions have been disgraceful. Paying her daughter thousands of dollars for make-up services and calling it a campaign expense is a good example. I don't see how there is any difference between an expense for getting your nails done for a meet and greet and getting your hair and make-up done for a media appearance. Seems like the Secretary of State's office is bending over backwards to split hairs on the Governor's behalf.

Mike Johnson

Of course not, just like with the NM Supreme Court, the fix is in for all political allies.....[lol][lol][lol]

paul pacheco

Socialist liberals, protecting their own corruption. No democracy in a 1-party system! Take that to the beauty parlor!

Robert Fields

As a public figure, she has costs associated with her appearance and they have been deemed acceptable and legal.

Meanwhile, any comments about the Trump family’s continuing expenses heaped on the government (and us) because they increased their allowances and duration before Trump left office? Just the children are costing $140,000 per month and Trump even forces the Secret Service to use Porta-Potties at another $30,000 of taxpayer expence… I mean, if you want to talk about corruption, let’s talk about corruption.

David Ford

[thumbup]Thank you Robert. However with the GQP worshippers surely you know you are wasting your time with actual facts...[cool]

Mark Stahl

Maybe if the republicans had something to offer, New Mexico wouldn’t be a one party state.

Emily Hartigan

Reinders' comment makes no sense.

Decades ago, Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin, who gave the "Golden Fleece" awards, said openly that his hair plugs were necessary to his career, and re-election. Neither make-up nor hair plugs are criminal.

Richard Reinders

Read my comment nothing about hair just crouch grabbing, and the rational used to justify payoff for the assault with campaign money.

Richard Reinders

So with Vigils reasoning if Grisham killed someone on the campaign trail she could justify lawyer fees to defend herself. Its OK to commit a crime, sexual harassments/assault and pay for it with campaign money, only in New Mexico.

Mark Stahl

You’re being ridiculous. Getting your hair and nails done is not a crime.

Richard Reinders

Grabbing crouch is an assault, and is a crime nothing said in my comment about nails

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