Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pro Death Penalty Groups Raises $30 k

I talked with Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White yesterday about his Repeal the Repeal group. I asked him whether reports that he's considering running for lieutenant governor or some other office next year.

His answer was simple: "No. I'm not running for anything."

So there. 

Here's the story I wrote:

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
May 13, 2009

An Albuquerque group dedicated to bringing back the death penalty in New Mexico has raised more than $30,000 in the last month, according to documents filed with the state this week.

The group, Repeal the Repeal, was started by Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White shortly after Gov. Bill Richardson signed a bill that abolished capital punishment, replacing it with a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

The group wants to gather petitions to put the question of whether to reinstate the death penalty on the ballot.

“The people should have a voice in this,” White said Tuesday.

However, White said, because of questions of the legality of repealing laws dealing with criminal justice, it’s not clear whether the issue could be put on the ballot.

White said he is awaiting an opinion from the Secretary of State’s office.

The state constitution lists exceptions to the kind of laws that can be repealed. Among those are “laws providing for the preservation of the public peace, health or safety.”

White said he’s not sure what the next step for the organization will be if the secretary of state rules against a petition process.

Repeal The Repeal, according with a report filed Monday with the secretary of state, raised $30,561 between April 2 and April 29.

The biggest contribution, $18,000, was from White’s political action committee.

Other large contributions were $2,000 from Donald Kaufman of Albuquerque and $1,000 from Albuquerque contractor Tony Pisto.

The group spent $15,638, the biggest amount being $10,000 to Lincoln Strategy of Tempe, Ariz., for television ads that ran last month.