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Spending on libations, catering by New Mexico’s governor during pandemic draws criticism

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks from the governor's mansion during a recent virtual briefing.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks from the governor's mansion during a recent virtual briefing.

SANTA FE, New Mexico — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says she regrets discretionary spending of taxpayer money that included $6,500 on groceries and alcohol.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, over a six-month period in 2020 spent almost $13,500 from a taxpayer-funded expense account is appropriated by the state Legislature for the governor to spend on functions, events or items that promote the state, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Former Republican Gov. Susana Martinez spent about $470,000 in discretionary funds from 2011 through 2017, or an average of about $68,000 per year.

Lujan Grisham's spokesperson, Tripp Stelnicki, said that some of the more than $6,500 grocery bill was used to feed the governor's cabinet and staff at long meetings during the second half of last year.

Lujan Grisham said that she knew the purchases didn’t look good, the New Mexican reported.

“When people are struggling, should it be fair that residents (of the governor’s mansion) literally have a locked-up grocery store closet … that has libations and catering stuff and food?” the governor said.

“I don’t want New Mexicans to feel like I don’t take seriously their hardship,” she said.

Republican House Minority Leader Jim Townsend said the governor’s purchases were “unfortunate” and inappropriate.

“It’s not what tax dollars ought to be spent for,” Townsend said. “In the 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. I think it’s just more of indication of the problem that we have had and the governor has had connecting with people.”

One of the receipts showed that the governor's office spent more than $200 during one trip to Sam's Club on at least five bottles of tequila, two bottles of vodka, two bottles of merlot, a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of gin, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Stelnicki said the liquor was bought by a staffer for a holiday party that never ended up happening. He added that the alcohol remains unopened.

State lawmakers approved a bill in 2019 that changed the way the money is distributed and overseen after Martinez used discretionary funds to throw a raucous holiday party at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa.

The party caused a number of police complaints about noise and partygoers who threw objects atop a hotel balcony.

Martinez signed the bill, which provides more transparency regarding how the discretionary funds are spent, but the law did not go into effect until Lujan Grisham's term started in 2019.

New Mexico Politics / News / Politics / Top Stories

Associated Press



    1. The article also states that her Republican predecessor spent almost 10 times as much. It was so outrageous that the legislature had to pass a law to prevent it. Grisham was well in line with the law.

      1. Martinez was super out of line but it wasn’t during a pandemic and state government shut down. But nice “but what about when” argument Mark Turner…… have fooled no one.

        1. I have found that the best way to deal with that psychopath alberto and his 25 personalities, as well with that convicted sex offender, is not to directly respond to them.

          1. I really like how Mark turner thinks he’s so clever and nobody realizes its him when it’s so obvious. He tried to “report” us to moderators but got rebuked cause he is in fact a sex offender

  1. Nice pic KVIA it’s almost as she’s laughing at us…….but hey she speaks so nicely and sounds very compassionate. Never mind she has decimated small businesses in NM she speaks nice

      1. #1 bullshite….. “according to the us”…..gtfoh. go look for yourself….oh yeah you can’t cause of the terms of your parole and your sec offender status

  2. Sad pitiful little madmike and his deflecting buddy wake up. They just can’t keep up, can they? There is no Alberto or Mark Turner. Catch up dolts.

  3. According to FOX News, she bought Wagu beef, tequila, vodka, wine, and other high end bottles, as well as having her dry cleaning paid for by tax payers and even bought gourmet cat food, for $15,000. And, she was having in-person meetings after she forbad citizens from doing it. She is nothing more than a dictator.

      1. New Mexico’s Democrat governor is on the defensive after a report this week detailed her office’s spending from a taxpayer-supported expense fund.

        Records show Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham spent nearly $13,500 over a six-month period in 2020 on items such as groceries, dry cleaning and alcohol, the Sante Fe New Mexican reported.

        The booze spending included a purchase in September of more than $200 for five bottles of tequila, two bottles of vodka, two bottles of Merlot and single bottles of whiskey and gin, the report said.

        In the same report, the newspaper disclosed that Grisham was hosting in-person staff meetings at the governor’s mansion at the same time that she was urging the public against mixing households in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

        About half the $13,500 went toward food for the governor’s Cabinet members and staffers during those meetings, Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki told The Associated Press.

          1. Grisham’s spending was well within the law passed after Martinez’ spending spree. So what we have is a non issue.

    1. According to FOX “News”? Ha ha. I don’t think so. Isn’t that the same news outlet who recently said the power failures under ERCOT were due to windmills failing? Morons.

  4. Turner changed nothing you little maggot. He just got busy with next years cotton crop. Some of us have to produce. Say Charlie keep up the good work. Every time you make these little cowards mad they start identifying you as some poor bastard who lives in the upper valley who is on the Sex offender registration list. His name is Mark Turner too. I’m the real mark turner they are always crying about when they have no intelligent comeback when several of us expose them for what they are. Right wing Nazi filth. 100% Orange buffoon worshiping human scum. Idiot madmike272 is an ex-government employee who was forced into retirement after he killed a family pet in a dog park in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. He’s frustrated because he is unable to find me on the internet because everything I have is listed in an LLC. That’s why he can’t find any of the other 3 Mark Turners who live in El Paso County, Texas. You have Jeff Allen, madmike272, wake up, nadodave, uvacowboy(who by the way is the only one of them with the slightest modicum of decency), and K1DPR. All of them are Trumpites and traitors claiming to be patriots. They blame everything on someone called “alberto” and the sex offender “mark turner” who is not even remotely involved, when they get stumped on the discussions on this blog. They are all sad old men who are unable to deal with a changing world. Well, I have some work to do. Just checking in and hope you stay with these idiots. I’ll be back when I get the cotton in.

      1. Don’t have a parole officer. Never been arrested. You have to be arrested, charged with a crime and sentenced before you can have a parole officer.

        1. I don’t know anything about your exploits in Maryland nor do I care. You do sound like someone who could harm a family pet however. markturner1961 might be right.

    1. Hahaha this is classic……. so replying to yourself i see mark turner… matter what you change you name to you can’t change your bullshite posts….outed again. It’s gonna get tiring switching from edbou to turner and you’ll slip again just like you did with your ‘mia’ account. This is pure gold

      1. Sad little wake up. Almost as sad as madmike272. Their motto is ‘if you can’t respond intelligently, just make false accusations and deflect’. Sad little old men with no futures who supported the biggest political loser of the century. Wake up the sad little man unable to cope with a changing world.

        1. Yep definitely fake markturner. When are you going to threaten us with your baseball bat again? Do you really think you can’t be traced by your email address?

        2. You didn’t even read my reply. You are talking about legality and no one is disputing that. You are the one trying to deflect from everyone knowing that you’re Mark turner. But you can’t hide from that mark cause you are registered for life

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