New Mexico governor takes flak from Republicans over controversial spending habits

Another day, another Democrat governor riddled with reports of scandal. Welcome to 2021.

According to Fox News, the latest Democrat state leader to find themselves embroiled in scandalous behavior is New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is under fire after reports caught her using a taxpayer-supported discretionary fund to buy all sorts of fun things, like food, dry cleaning, and various kinds of booze. 

In total, the governor dropped roughly $13,500 on those items, some of which appeared to be for staff members and other legislators in the state.

All the details

The Sante Fe New Mexican broke the story last week, citing reports of the governor’s spending in the second half of 2020 that revealed she went all out on food and drinks for herself and members of her Cabinet, along with small groups of legislators who she met with in-person.

It wasn’t as if she was hitting the dollar menu at the local fast-food joint, either. Grisham reportedly splurged on Wagyu beef — one of the most expensive kinds of beef one can purchase — and tuna steaks. She also spent several hundred dollars on tequila, vodka, whiskey, and other types of alcohol.

Reports indicated that roughly half of that $13,500 in taxpayer-supported spending was spent on fancy foods for staffers and state lawmakers, who met in groups with the governor while she was urging residents of her state to stay home and not mingle with anyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But don’t worry, says spokesperson Tripp Stelnicki. The governor reportedly followed COVID-19 social distancing protocols at the mini-gatherings, Stelnicki said, asserting to reporters that those in attendance donned face masks and were socially distanced while they chowed down on $200-per-pound cuts of premium beef.

Republicans are ticked

Once the expense report surfaced, thanks to a public records request, it didn’t take long for New Mexico Republicans to pounce on the bombshell revelations.

“In a time when people are hurting all over the state, using their tax dollars to buy Wagyu beef has got to be a little bit disenchanting to many people,” New Mexico House Minority Leader Jim Townsend (R) said, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

House Minority Whip Rod Montoya (R) echoed those comments, which rang especially true as Grisham recently handed out a round of generous salary bumps to some of her staffers.

“It really appears in the Governor’s Office as if she really believes herself to be more privileged than everybody else in New Mexico,” Montoya said, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Although the governor ended up issuing an apology to residents of her state, which was reported in an updated story from the Sante Fe New Mexican, it doesn’t appear as if she’ll live this one down anytime soon. It’s also not a stretch to presume that this story might resurface during the next gubernatorial primary. Only time will tell.

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