Cowboys for Trump co-founder charged with campaign violation


An elected official from New Mexico was charged on Friday with a campaign finance misdemeanor for refusing to register his political group Cowboys for Trump, the attorney general announced.

Couy Griffin, a Republican county commissioner from Tularosa, southern New Mexico, has been at odds with state election officials for more than a year over whether to register the group as a political committee. Griffin expressed concern that registration could lead to other disclosure requirements related to contributions and expenses, and sued the New Mexico Secretary of State in 2020 after insisting the group must register.

A federal appeals court last month dismissed his arguments and upheld a lower court ruling that the reporting requirement is valid. Attorney General Hector Balderas said Friday that Griffin is not following court orders to register the group.

“We live in a nation that ensures no elected official is above the law,” Balderas, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Citizens have the right to expect transparency in reporting and disclosure from all elected officials.”

In 2019, Griffin forged a group of rodeo acquaintances into the promotional group Cowboys for Trump, which staged horseback parades to spread President Donald Trump’s conservative message about gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions.

Griffin told The Associated Press on Friday night that he is planning a new reporting challenge, this time with Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell, and expects to find success with lessons learned from his unsuccessful appeal.

“I have a strong belief that we’re going to get through this and if we can do that, it’s going to be a huge win,” Griffin said.

Separately, Griffin is due to appear in court next week in Washington on criminal charges of misdemeanor in the January 6 riot, where he appeared on an outside patio and attempted to lead the crowd to prayer.

Griffin denies allegations that he knowingly entered barricaded areas of the Capitol grounds with intent to disrupt the government as Congress reviewed 2020 Electoral College results, though he has credited openly unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 election. Cowboys for Trump co-founder charged with campaign violation

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