Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lawrence Rael and the Sex Offender Contributor

Yesterday in the heat of the reaction to the Mother Jones article on Gov. Susana Martinez, two Republican lawmakers, Reps. Paul Pacheco and Monica Youngblood, both from Albuquerque, issued an indignant press release.

"How could Mother Jones be so concerned about Martinez cussing when the Democrats are so much worse?" was the gist of their message. As an example, the legislators said, Lawrence Rael accepted a campaign contribution from a sex offender. Not only a sex offender, but a "pro-sex offender activist."

The contribution in question was $25 -- no, I'm not forgetting any zeroes -- from someone in Albuquerque named Larry Neely.

There is a New Mexico resident named Larry Neely who is part of the group Reform Sex Offender Laws Inc. and he is quoted in the  New York Times story that is linked to in the press release from Pacheco and Youngblood.

 However, there are several people named Larry Neely listed in Albuquerque, so I can't say for certain the guy who gave the $25 to Rael is the same one. (I also checked the state sex offender registration but couldn't find a Larry, Lawrence or Laurence Neely.)

But whether or not the contributor is the same Larry Neely, a spokesman for the Rael campaign said Rael would be donating the $25 to the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program, which helps crime victims.

The campaign received money from more than 500 donors during the last reporting period Kyle Armstrong said. "Lawrence would not knowingly take money from a convicted sex offender," he said. (Shockingly, the campaign does not perform criminal background checks on contributors.)

Heads up Maggie Oliver and Conservation Voters New Mexico Action Fund: The same contributor gave you $10 and $25 respectively.