Democrats are already facing severe headwinds in 2022.
The political terrain is about to get rockier.
And a key Democrat made a sex scandal go away with this shady payment.
As Black Eye Politics reports:
It’s just now come to light how much New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign paid to a former staffer who alleged that the governor groped him.
As part of a settlement, Lujan Grisham paid former staffer James Hallinan $150,000. Hallinan accused Lujan Grisham of grabbing his crotch in the presence of several staffers.
Hallinan served as Lujan Grisham’s spokesman on her 2018 campaign. He brought his allegations against the governor public in 2019.
“She took a water bottle and dumped it on my crotch and then slapped and grabbed me in front of everybody,” Hallinan claimed.
He further claimed that “her campaign manager convinced me not to report it to law enforcement, convinced me not to quit the campaign because I tried,” he added.
It had already been exposed that Lujan Grisham’s campaign revealed back in April that Hallinan had been paid $62,500. However, on Sunday it was revealed that Lujan Grisham had been forced to fork out another $87,500 as part of the settlement, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Since Lujan Grisham has denied the accusation, her campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer tried to claim that the settlement was merely a cost reduction strategy to avoid a long lawsuit and “prevent any distraction.”
“The settlement resolved suspect and varied claims made by Mr. Hallinan, including his search for employment and clients following his tumultuous tenure on the 2018 campaign,” Witmer claimed. “The campaign reached this settlement in 2020 due to the expense of litigating business disputes and to prevent any distraction during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Lujan Grisham will continue to work tirelessly for the people of New Mexico, delivering on record economic growth, educational investment, and tax cuts for New Mexico’s families — all while leading the state through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The state’s Republican Party in contrast accused Lujan Grisham of paying “hush money” to Hallinan.
“This governor is a habitual hypocrite,” party spokesman Mike Curtis said in a statement Monday. “During former New York Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo’s sex scandal, Lujan Grisham cried out for transparency and a full investigation. When she’s the accused, however, our Governor sweeps it under the rug and pays off her accuser with cash, disguised conveniently as ‘legal expenses’ in campaign finance reports.”
“The Governor’s latest payments again expose her hypocrisy and her true character,” added Curtis.
This isn’t the only scandal; earlier this year Lujan Grisham was accused of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars for her personal use and she was also accused of breaking her own stay-at-home order during COVID to buy jewelry.