Gov. Martinez questioned for violating open government laws
Posted at: 06/15/2012 7:13 PM
| Updated at: 06/16/2012 2:06 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Two state lawmakers are asking the New Mexico Attorney General to investigate state Public Education Department emails sent to the private email accounts of Governor Susana Martinez and her top political advisor Jay McCleskey.
Sen. Linda Lopez, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and Rep. Rick Miera, chairman of the House Education Committee, are requesting the investigation.
Both are Democrats. Martinez and McCleskey are Republicans.
The emails invoke secrecy and open government issues that all seem to slop into the soup of a brewing email scandal.
McCleskey is the chief ingredient.
He asked for and received, in his private email account, lists of union and non-union teachers employed in the state's public schools.
Martinez also got the lists in her private email account.
The lists came from the private email account of Public Education Department spokesman Larry Behrens.
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government questions the use of the private emails.
"We want to make sure that the public has the ability to look into what's going on," said Gwyneth Doland, the foundation's executive director. "By using these alternative channels of communication you take that public business out of the sunlight and you put it into the dark."
Big questions - did the Governor's political team use state employees for a political purpose, and did a hired-gun political operative get special treatment and special information?
Is the use of private emails a smokescreen to conceal a political deal?
The governor's office said they do not believe the case is a violation of the Governmental Conduct Act.