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New Mexico Politician Charged With Misusing Campaign Funds

FILE - The New Mexico attorney general says charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran included embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

The Democratic attorney general in New Mexico charged the Republican secretary of state Friday with 64 criminal counts of allegedly diverting campaign contributions for her personal use.

Attorney General Hector Balderas and Secretary of State Dianna Duran have been feuding for months over state campaign finance reports.

Balderas’ office said charges against Duran included embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

According to the criminal complaint filed in an Albuquerque court, Duran used her “powers and status as a public officer … to obtain personal benefit or pursue private interests.”

She was accused of moving money around from her personal and campaign accounts, including what the complaints allege were “large debits for cash expenditures occurring at casinos.”

Duran’s attorney said in a statement to the Albuquerque Journal newspaper that people should not jump to conclusions, and that they looked forward to addressing the charges in court.

Earlier this year, Duran accused Balderas of violating the state’s campaign finance laws by submitting three late reports when he was New Mexico state auditor.

Balderas denied the charge and blamed the reporting procedures in Duran’s office for the problems.