Tso may have violated campaign reporting law

Dan Schwartz The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A candidate for the Central Consolidated School District's board of education may have violated another campaign reporting law during his campaign for magistrate judge in the Nov. 4 general election.

During that election, Matthew Tso received or bought campaign signs but did not, as is required by the Campaign Reporting Act, list the expense or contribution in his campaign finance reports. His fourth report lists his campaign's only contribution — made by him — of $278.68, which he spent at Basin Broadcasting Company Inc. on election day for radio ads.

A post on his Facebook page last week pictured Tso posing with his signs, which said "Vote Matthew Tso Magistrate Judge Div. 2," but it has since been removed.

Tso did not return numerous calls placed to two of his phones or respond to a text message on Wednesday.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office already has fined Tso $738 for filing all but one of his campaign finance reports late in the general and primary election. Office officials reduced that fine from $5,650, according to office records.

In 2011, Tso also faced $18,050 in fines from the office for failing to file four campaign finance reports, according to office documents. He has filed numerous other reports late.

The Secretary of State's Office received an email on Dec. 17 containing a photo of Tso with his campaign signs and stating that the candidate had not listed the expenses in his campaign finance reports.

Rod Adair, an office spokesman, said officials will send Tso a letter including statements from the emailed complaint, and Tso will be allowed a number of days to send his response to the complaint to the office.

Office officials encourage a candidate to comply voluntarily with the Campaign Reporting Act. But, Adair said, "if there's a serious violation that appears to have occurred, the secretary of state's office could refer the matter to law enforcement."

He added that the violation would have to be criminal.

Tso, already serving on the CCSD school board for District 3, is running against Michael Warren, Gladys Todacheene, Charlie Jones Jr. and Harrison Todacheene, who is being fined $75 for filing two campaign finance reports late in the general election.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.