Inside the Capitol

Saturday, June 08, 2013

6-12 Who is investigating who?

61213 investigations

SANTA FE – The mystery never ends. Who is investigating who in state government? We know the FBI is involved.
FBI agents in Albuquerque are investigating the local police and the FBI in Santa Fe has obtained an indictment against Susana Martinez's first campaign manager, Jamie Estrada, for email hacking.
But rumors keep popping up in Albuquerque that the FBI is being encouraged to specifically look at police handling of the Mary Han mysterious death a few years ago.
Han was a prominent defense attorney. She was found dead in her garage with her car engine running. It was ruled a suicide but many think that was too easy an answer.
In Santa Fe, some of the emails that were hijacked related to the 25-year lease of the fairgrounds racetrack and casino.
It all started a year ago when some mysterious emails became public announcing the partial fulfillment of a request for a list of names of teachers throughout the state who were not union members.
The request and response raised questions about personal privacy and the use of private email to conduct state business.
Gov. Martinez put a quick end to the email question by decreeing that henceforth all state business conducted by email would be conducted through state email accounts.
That is as it should be. Email correspondence conducted through state email accounts is subject to inspection under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
Use of private accounts to conduct state business avoids the transparency that Gov. Martinez promised.
Since the person who released the emails was Albuquerque attorney Sam Bregman and since he now is chairman of the state Democratic Party, suspicions immediately arose about the connections he used to obtain private emails. Bregman answered only that they were obtained legally. My questions about how the emails could have been obtained legally were not answered by Democrats or Republicans in the know.
But I was told by a prominent Republican that the FBI was all over the place looking into the emails.
We also heard from Gov. Martinez and top GOP officials that the awarding of the Albuquerque Downs racino 25-year contract was most definitely not part of the investigation. Evidently someone was trying to make it a part of the investigation.

Soon after, we learned that Martinez's first campaign manager Jamie Estrada was indicted by a Bernalillo County grand jury on a dozen counts of illegally intercepting electronic communications and two counts of making false statements to authorities during the investigations.
An inside job. How about that? I certainly was looking in the wrong place. I thought those geeky Democrats with their backroom computers had outmaneuvered Republicans just like we are learning how they did during the presidential campaign.
But, no. Republicans were doing it to themselves. They just don't seem to have a knack for dumping employees in a graceful manner.
First it was Jamie Estrada, then Anissa Galassini, Susana Martinez's personal assistant during the 2010 campaign.
Galissini didn't get rehired into the Martinez administration after the election. She revealed that she had been interviewed by two different FBI teams, one concerning emails and another concerning the Albuquerque Downs.
Then came the big kahuna. Andrea Goff, a highly respected fundraiser for the Republican Party revealed last week that she had been interviewed by an FBI team and the questions concerned nothing about Jamie Estrada or email hacking but were about the racino and various other activities.
Now why would someone who has been in the Martinez inner circle do a thing like that? Sounds like there has been a falling out there too.
Goff served as finance director for Martinez's campaign PAC and head of Martinez's inaugural committee. She is now U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce's chief fundraiser.
Obviously there is much more to be learned. News organizations aren't in agreement about the Downs deal. And where is Sam Bregman? We always hear from him?


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