Another potential GOP presidential candidate hit with more bad news:
A recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit filed in New Mexico state court makes a series of explosive allegations against appointees of rising GOP star Gov. Susana Martinez, accusing high-ranking officials in her administration of public corruption, mismanagement, and intimidation. It claims that officials at the state's economic development agency engaged in extramarital affairs that could expose the state to sexual harassment charges and that officials tried to silence employees who reported contracting violations and other wrongdoing.
The 22-page complaint—filed February 10 on behalf of two former state employees—claims that a company co-founded by Martinez appointee Jon Barela, secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, secretly benefited from a state tax credit program. The complaint also alleges that aides to Martinez instructed a state employee to use his personal email for sensitive government work to avoid being subject to public records requests; that Barela and his deputy, Barbara Brazil, ignored waste and mismanagement at the state's Spaceport project in southern New Mexico; and that Brazil ran several Dairy Queen franchises she had an interest in "while simultaneously being paid by the State of New Mexico."
The whistleblowers are Kurt Saenz, the former chief financial officer at the New Mexico Economic Development Department, and Brent Eastwood, a former Army infantry officer and RAND Corporation analyst who ran the department's international trade and business advocacy divisions. Both men are Republicans and were appointed by Martinez. Eastwood's wife, Melanie Sanchez-Eastwood, worked as a scheduler on Martinez's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. A source familiar with the case says the FBI has interviewed Saenz and Eastwood about their allegations. Eastwood also anonymously reported his allegations to the state attorney general and the state auditor. (Saenz and Eastwood declined to comment for this story.) - Mother Jones, 5/8/14
More below the fold.
That's not the only thing to be revealed about Martinez:
Tracy Hughes was a career employee in the New Mexico Environment Department who was just three months away from being eligible for retirement when she was fired by an appointee of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.
"It was clear from the campaign [of right-wing Tea Party Gov. Martinez] I was going to be gone," Hughes told Truthout. "The environment agency was clearly going to be targeted to clear out employees and prepare a new agenda for the Martinez administration."
The Martinez administration calls itself "business friendly," but Hughes, along with environmental lawyers, activists, authors, renewable energy advocates, and current and former state employees told Truthout that Gov. Martinez is little more than a lobbyist for big oil and gas, the copper and dairy industries, and other environmentally destructive industries that decide to set up shop in New Mexico.
"The Martinez administration will make sure that environmental protection does not get in the way of industry being able to do business in New Mexico," Hughes, who now works for an energy and environmental law firm, added. As an example, she pointed to the "copper rule," legislation the Martinez administration passed that allows copper mines to pollute the groundwater on their property. "I worked on [opposing] the copper rule, and what I saw happen on the copper rule was that it was wholesale disregard of the law by the Martinez administration," Hughes said.
These strong words from a long-term former state employee might sound alarmist, yet they are but the tip of a giant iceberg of discontent towards a radically industry-friendly state governor with national political ambitions who has a reputation for slander, hypocrisy and trying to rewrite laws in her favor. - TruthOut, 5/6/14
Yep, this all was revealed in the same week Martinez is being groomed for a 2016 bid:
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a rising star in the Republican Party, says she's not interested in running for national office, even as she's name-dropped by pundits and party luminaries as a potential 2016 candidate for vice president or even president. Here's another strong indication of her party-wide appeal: Every major Republican leader on Capitol Hill, from House Speaker John Boehner to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, is featured on the guest list for a May 21 fundraiser for Martinez in a tony neighborhood just outside Washington, DC.
According to an invitation obtained by Mother Jones, other "honored guests" slated to attend Martinez's event in Chevy Chase, Maryland, include: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, House budget committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. Jerry Moran, and National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Greg Walden. A handful of US senators (John McCain, Jeff Flake), ex-governors, lobbyists, and DC-area consultants are also set to attend.
The fundraiser will be held at the $2.2 million home of Susan Neely, the president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, the soft-drink industry lobby. The host committee includes the American Beverage Association, DC mega-fundraiser Fred Malek, former Gov. Tom Ridge, and a slew of DC-area consultants and donors. - Mother Jones, 5/5/14
Oh, and look who's also helping Martinez:
After a few weeks back home to deal with the Garden State’s budget debate, Christie is scheduled to raise money for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in back-to-back events in their states on May 29-30, respectively.
After that, it’s off to Pennsylvania where he will keynote a June 9 reception in Philadelphia on behalf of vulnerable Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.
Though his approval rating in New Jersey appears to have stabilized, there is no doubt that Christie’s image among the public at large has taken a significant hit. But with Republicans having to defend 22 of the 36 governors’ seats up this year, he remains a vital force for fellow party members running in marquee gubernatorial races -- and in the eyes of many GOP donors. - RCP, 4/30/14
And Democrats haven't forgotten about this:
The Democratic Party of New Mexico has requested to see email and written correspondence between now-Gov. Susana Martinez (R), her campaign staff and the third judicial district attorney's office in 2009 and 2010.
The request was sparked by a recent Mother Jones article that mentioned Martinez's 2010 gubernatorial campaign staffers interacting with the district attorney's office. Martinez was the district attorney at the time.
Mother Jones reported:
Martinez's crew saw enemies everywhere. A former staffer recalls the campaign on multiple occasions sending the license plate numbers of cars believed to be used by opposition trackers to an investigator in Martinez's DA office who had access to law enforcement databases. In one instance, a campaign aide took a photo of a license plate on a car with an anti-Martinez bumper sticker and emailed it to the investigator. "Cool I will see who it belongs to!!" the investigator replied. - Huffington Post, 5/1/14
Hopefully it will be frontrunner, Attorney General Gary King's (D. NM) time to win:
King left the Legislature to run for governor. But he lost the 1998 Democratic primary to Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez, who went on to lose to Republican Gary Johnson.
Four years later — following a stint working for the U.S. Department of Energy under then Secretary Bill Richardson — King made another run for governor. But this time, his main obstacle was Richardson himself. King dropped out of the race before the 2002 primary when it became obvious that Richardson had the nomination sewn up.
In 2004, listing his home address as Carlsbad, King ran for Congress. In the primary, he beat Jeff Steinborn, now a state legislator from Las Cruces, but lost decisively to Republican Steve Pearce in the general election.
Steinborn said one lesson he learned from the race was “the King name is still beloved among many of the older Democratic voters in New Mexico. It takes a lot for any candidate running against him to overcome that. … It’s a formidable thing.”
King bounced back in 2006 and won election as attorney general. He said recently that he’s most proud of his office’s work in “protecting children against predators.” He also mentioned his work with Mexican law enforcement — specifically, training prosecutors trying to convict those involved in drug cartels.
As attorney general, King has tangled with the Martinez administration over the state Water Quality Control Commission’s decision to weaken groundwater rules for copper mines. (King has appealed that decision.) Martinez herself blasted a new regulation from King’s office that requires every car dealer to disclose any significant wreck damage to any vehicle sold in the state. Car dealers are suing over the regulation. - Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/10/14
If you want to donate and get involved with King's campaign, you can do so here: