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Can Integrity be Bought?

The Governor has had a banner fundraising year:

Gov. Bill Richardson has raised about $3.8 million for his re-election campaign during the past year, giving him a huge fundraising advantage over a Republican challenger.

The latest report on contributions brought Richardson’s total fundraising for the campaign to nearly $6.9 million.

Which again makes you wonder… why did it take Governor Richardson so long to donate Riordan’s money to charity? Why would a Governor with millions in the bank hold onto a measly $25,000 of tainted money:

“People are very concerned,” said James Lewis, a Democrat who hopes to be the next state treasurer.

“The first thing they say is, `What about integrity?’ ” he said of people he’s met while he campaigns. “They say, sort of jokingly, `Can we trust you or anyone else?’ ”

Along with the politicking come campaign contributions, something money managers are closely scrutinizing.

That’s happening in light of testimony by former state Treasurer Michael Montoya that Gov. Bill Richardson ally Guy Riordan gave him money during meetings in bathroom stalls. Montoya is cooperating with prosecutors in Vigil’s case.

Will Richardson’s millions buy the public’s trust? Have New Mexicans had enough of shakedown artists in elected office? What other money is the Governor going to be forced to give back before the election? Lot’s of questions.