ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico state representative is being accused of using his position to get funding for his brother’s project, but the lawmaker says the charges are a “smear campaign.”
According to a complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Office Monday, Republican Rep. Paul Pacheco failed to disclose a conflict of interest in the funding of building a private charter school in Rio Rancho, reported KRQE-TV (http://bit.ly/2aiWYAt).
Pacheco requested more than $1.2 million for the building of Ask Academy, which focuses on science, technology, education and mathematics, according to the complaint from ProgressNow New Mexico. He ultimately secured about $230,000 in state funds.
The project was managed by his brother, architect David Pacheco.
“All that happened without any of the disclosures that seem to be required by state law, and that’s a big flag,” said ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director Pat Davis. “The law says if you have this relationship, you can still give them the money, but you have to go through this extra level of public scrutiny.”
The complaint accuses Pacheco of breaking state law and violating house ethics rules by not disclosing that his brother was behind the construction.
Pacheco says he didn’t originally know his brother was the architect and the whole thing was a coincidence. He said he never kept the relationship secret once he found out his brother was involved in the building.
“All this is a smear campaign against me and they’re trying to make something out of nothing,” Pacheco told KRQE-TV.
The complaint says David Pacheco was in charge of public funds for the project. Rep. Pacheco denies that and the president for the Ask Academy Foundation told KRQE that the architect was not directly in charge of public funds.
The Attorney General’s Office wouldn’t comment except to say it is reviewing the complaint.
Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com