The Slatest

New Mexico Politician’s Personal Casino Scandal Is Amazing in Its Magnitude

The Buffalo Thunder Casino in Pojoaque, New Mexico, which is one of the locations at which Duran is said to have withdrawn money.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

New Mexico’s secretary of state has resigned in the midst of a criminal prosecution which alleges that she committed a wide variety of crimes during years of “gambling activities” involving hundreds of thousands of dollars—far more money than she earned on her relatively modest government salaries—at casinos all over the state. Republican Dianna Duran, 59, has pleaded not guilty to 64 counts of misusing campaign funds, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and more. From the Albuquerque Journal:

According to the complaint, Duran withdrew a total of $147,641 in 2013 and $282,807 in 2014 at Buffalo Thunder Casino, Camel Rock Casino, Casino Apache, Inn of the Mountain Gods, Ohkay Casino, Ruidoso Downs, San Felipe Casino and Sandia Casino from her personal accounts.

(Inn of the Mountain Gods is a very good name for a casino. Incidentally I’ve been to both the Inn of the Mountain Gods and Ruidoso Downs. Ruidoso—nice town. The bear cub that became the living mascot for the Smokey the Bear fire-prevention campaign was found in the area.)


State investigators said Martinez’s gambling activities totaled $785,653 since 2002, despite her average salary of about $26,000 a year, the Las Vegas Optic reported.

The irony here, as the AP notes, is that “the secretary of state’s office is responsible for enforcing New Mexico’s elections and campaign finance laws.” Hmm.