SANTA FE, New Mexico — Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is being criticized for a jewelry purchase from a store in Albuquerque that had closed its retail locations after she issued a public health order prompting the closure of all non-essential businesses.
The governor's office says the transaction was done remotely and didn't violate the order. But Republicans are calling her behavior hypocritical and dishonorable.
They say the jewelry purchase exemplifies recent weeks of harsh and inequitable treatment of small businesses at a time when the governor was telling people to only go out for essential items.
Meanwhile, the New Mexico state auditor's office is looking into a $1.6 million purchase by Lujan Grisham's administration of 500,000 face masks at a significantly higher cost than the normal list price.
The state Health Department bought the masks from a Chinese company in April as demand for personal protective equipment skyrocketed.
Auditor Brian Colón says there are concerns with these types of purchases and the risks they present.
The Health Department says it worked hard to bring protective gear into the state in a timely way and that it was competing with other states and countries for the coveted items.