Ivey-Soto campaign mail featured photo that includes one of his accusers

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A flier sent out by the Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto campaign featured an image showing him at a bill signing with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Lobbyist Miranda Viscoli, who accused Ivey-Soto in 2022 of screaming and cursing at her at the Roundhouse in 2017, is featured watching over Ivey-Soto's left shoulder.

Three-term Democratic state senator Daniel Ivey-Soto already faces a stiff headwind in his bid to win re-election.

His campaign might have made his quest harder when one of its fliers hit mailboxes Saturday and Monday. 

At the top-left corner of one of the photos in the campaign literature stands a smiling woman at a bill-signing ceremony with Ivey-Soto and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The woman, Miranda Viscoli, is one of several women who in 2022 alleged unwanted or abusive behavior by Ivey-Soto to a special counsel hired by state lawmakers looking into a complaint that the Albuquerque Democrat had violated the Legislature’s Anti-Harassment policy. The special counsel later produced a 27-page report.

“After what I went through with him, that’s not OK,” Viscoli said of her appearance in Ivey-Soto’s campaign flier during an interview Wednesday afternoon. “He could have cropped me out of that picture.”

Viscoli and her husband, Steve Lipscomb, are supporting Ivey-Soto’s primary election opponent, Heather Berghmans. Lipscomb was quoted in a New Mexico In Depth story published Tuesday as saying “I hope everyone will do everything they possibly can … to say,  ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok to abuse women in the Roundhouse where government conducts business in our state.’”

Berghmans’ campaign sent out a press release early Wednesday afternoon criticizing Ivey-Soto’s inclusion of Viscoli and one other woman in his flier. Viscoli and her husband have given her a combined $5,000, according to state campaign records.

Ivey-Soto sounded defiant Wednesday.

If he had cropped Viscoli out of the photo, he said, “then I would have been accused of editing pictures and being deceitful about pictures.”

Ivey-Soto explained that the image in which Viscoli appears is of “a bill signing with the governor and there were a lot of people on the stage and she chose to stand behind us. I didn’t notice her. She is not the focus of the picture.”

If his opponent’s campaign wants to make an issue of it, Ivey-Soto said, “they are welcome to highlight that she chose to be a camera hog.” 

Viscoli’s allegation against Ivey-Soto can be found on page 24 of attorney Thomas Hnasko’s July 2022 report to the legislative ethics subcommittee charged with investigating the allegations against Ivey-Soto.

The task before Hnasko was to determine if there was probable cause to hold a public hearing to find whether Ivey-Soto had violated the Legislature’s Anti-Harassment policy in three instances involving a young female lobbyist. In two of the three instances, Hnasko found there was probable cause to trigger a public hearing by the full Senate ethics committee. But the subcommittee — composed of four of Ivey-Soto’s fellow senators — instead closed the case.

Viscoli, who was one of nearly 10 women who described unwanted or abusive behavior by Ivey-Soto, alleged to Hnasko that the three-term state senator “screamed and cursed at her during a 2017 encounter in the Roundhouse.“

On Wednesday, Ivey-Soto downplayed his 2017 interaction with Viscoli and suggested she was blowing it out of proportion. 

“She’s never been held accountable for her lies and I’m the bad guy in this,” Ivey-Soto said.

Hansko in his report said he found all witnesses he interviewed to be credible. 

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