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Thursday, November 11, 2010

UNM Regent Jack Fortner Denies Campaign Donations Led to Position on Martinez Transition Team

Remember all the accusations and racket GOP governor-elect Susana Martinez made during the campaign about alleged corruption and pay to play in Santa Fe? Remember how one of her biggest talking points was that she was going to bring "bold change" and unprecedented transparency and ethics to the job, if elected? It now appears that all those statements may have been just for show, for buffaloing voters into thinking she was on their side and free of the kind of political cronyism she pledged to eradicate.

More and more evidence is emerging by the day that a significant number of Martinez's appointments to her various transitional search committees are going to people who made significant campaign contributions to her and other right-wing candidates. Take UNM Regent Jack Fortner, who was named to the search committee on public and higher education. According to an article in the Daily Lobo, Fortner contributed more than $40,000 to the Susana Martinez campaign:

Fortner made five contributions totaling $40,250, including a $20,000 donation to Martinez’s campaign just weeks before Election Day.

“Two years ago, I was planning on running for governor, and I set aside $200,000 for my campaign,” Fortner said. “I made my contributions with the money I set aside.”

Fortner’s other contributions were $2,500 on April 28, $10,000 on May 25, $3,250 on June 1, $2,500 on June 8 and $2,000 on Sept. 10, according to the campaign finance information system on the Secretary of State’s website.

... Fortner said there is no connection between his appointment to the transition team and his campaign donations.

Fortner's term on the Board of Regents ends in January, the same month Martinez takes office. She could reappoint Fortner as a Regent, but Fortner has said, "That’s something we have not even discussed." He was first appointed to the post in 1999 by Republican Governor Gary Johnson.

Fortner has made other donations to Republican candidates:

Fortner also donated the maximum allowed by the Federal Election Commission, $2,500 per individual, to Steve Pearce, who won the U.S. House District 2 seat in southern New Mexico against Harry Teague. Fortner lives in Farmington.

“I also gave some to Matt Chandler,” Fortner said, referring to the Republican candidate for state attorney general.

Fortner has a consistent history contributing to Republican candidates. In 2008, he gave maximum contributions to John McCain and Darren White.

Las Cruces business owner Keri Mitchell, another member of the education search committee, donated a total of $3,000 to the Susana Martinez campaign, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State's site.

November 11, 2010 at 02:55 PM in 2010 General Election, 2010 NM Governor's Race, Education, Susana Martinez | Permalink

Comments

I can see why she calls it bold change. Not. She's not only rewarding donors she's bringing in old and tired retreads from the Gary Johnson administration and the friends of Scary Heather Wilson. Not the best. Not the brightest. Hacks through and through.

Posted by: Sean | Nov 11, 2010 9:49:00 PM

Nothing beats rhetoric like the way things actually turn out.

A lot of people will probably learn the lesson that it is all too easy to say what focus groups and surveys show people want to hear. Next time, perhaps, more people will think about what the money behind the candidate really means before taking it on face value.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Nov 12, 2010 11:00:39 AM

You people are hilarious. Can't you see that there is a relationship between people with money and people who are just darn smart? It is so totally obvious that these worthy folk$ are just smart, ergo they are rich and are now doing due diligence by donating their brain trusts to Susana's tran$ition.

Who could have anticipated it? I can't wait to see how this play$ out.

/s

Posted by: bg | Nov 12, 2010 11:38:52 AM

Don't forget Farmington's own oil baron, T. Greg Merrion, owner of Merrion Oil, who gave Martinez $16,000 and wound up on her Environmental Search Committee. What a coincidence!!!

Posted by: wally balou | Nov 12, 2010 5:08:49 PM

Three words:

Pay
to
Play.

Posted by: bg | Nov 13, 2010 12:00:53 AM