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Monday, April 18, 2011

Heather Wilson's Husband Hired for Top-Paying State Job: More Cronyism by Susana Martinez Administration

SMartinezCr Week by week, we're finding that what New Mexico's right-wing Governor Susana Martinez says and what she does are often two different things. Remember all that campaign rhetoric about "bold change" and getting rid of anything that reeks even mildly of pay to play or cronyism?

A number of Susana's appointments have gone to people who donated generously to her campaign (read this and this for examples). Others went to those who have been loyal foot soldiers in their support of her political rise, including Darren White -- a much criticized pick by Martinez to serve on the Judicial Standards Commission -- whether they were suitable for the position or not. Remember her embarrassing, failed nomination of climate-change denier to head the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department?

Gov. Martinez has also been working overtime to get rid of valid regulations that irk her big campaign donors involved in oil and gas drilling and dairy operations, among others. For instance, it was revealed that she held with some of them who serve on a "small business task force" to plot how to get rid of common-sense regulations that protect New Mexico's air, water and lands. The final report that emerged from those meetings reeks of having the foxes guard the henhouse. In addition, many of her big campaign donors also gave wads of money to her for her inauguration hoe down.

JayHone Now it's been revealed that Martinez apparently decided it was time to reward the Heather Wilson family for its loyalty to her candidacy and administration. Heather, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, previously ran Susana's transition team. Her husband, attorney Jay Hone, was hired in February by the Martinez administration to serve as general counsel for the state's General Services Department, at a salary of $93,00 per year. Cushy. 

Turns out Hone, 58, has also been tapped to serve simultaneously as director of the GSD's Risk Management Division, but is not receiving any additional salary for that post. You'd think one of these two jobs would keep him busy full time, wouldn't you? Previously, Hone applied to fill an Albuquerque metro court judge slot, but didn't get it. Hone has operated a private law practice since the early 90s, but I guess he wanted a nice, secure job with benefits in state government, now that his wife is mounting a Senate race.

Heather-Hone File Fiasco
Hone has generally remained in the background during Heather's political career. However, he was pulled into the spotlight early on when Heather was hired to run the state Children, Youth and Families Department during Gary Johnson's administration. Wilson was caught in the act by a local news station ordering the removal of a state file containing information about Hone. According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal:

It was during Wilson's first week on the job in 1996 that she ordered a file regarding Hone's role as a foster parent to be moved from an Albuquerque warehouse to the department's offices in the Capitol, an action that became the focus of a television report later that year and ballooned into a campaign issue earlier this year.

Wilson has said she did not want a file with personal information about her family available to department employees and denied opening the file or taking it out of the department offices.

When the file removal issue arose again in Heather's 2006 campaign for the NM-01 House seat, TV station KOAT-TV ordered YouTube to remove the video of its coverage of the story because of "copyright infringement." You can read a transcript of the video story here. In the video, investigative reporter Larry Barker confronts Heather Wilson about the file removal and she claims she didn't order it:

Barker, “And this is, purports to be the card, referencing your husband, right?"

Wilson, “Yes.”

Barker, “OK. And there is a notation here, that the record was removed, by your order, on this date.”

Wilson gives him a blank look.

Barker, “Does that have any meaning for you, or not?”

Wilson, “I will assume, for the purposes, that this is some kind of a copy of a record of this Department. Now where we locate files, in this Department, is none of your business.”

Barker, “Well did you order, this ... a record ... removed?"

Wilson, “No.”

Barker, “So this is totally inaccurate?"

Wilson, “Yes."

As it turns out, Wilson was lying, as she, herself, later revealed. When Wilson learned KOAT was going to air the story, she abruptly called a press conference at her office in Santa Fe and admitted she had ordered her husband's filed moved. The Bernalillo County District Attorney at the time, Bob Schwartz, stated that the removal was a "highly inappropriate" act on the part of Wilson and that she should at least have filed a request under seal to a judge to get permission to move the file.

The file was opened in response to an Albuquerque police report filed in March 1993 that reportedly contained potentially damaging allegations against her husband. The file is rumored to contain information about an accusation against Hone that has to do with inappropriate contact on his part with a babysitter. Most files opened by the department in this manner are generally based on claims of sexually inappropriate contact or abuse involving minors.

No legal action against Hone was ever taken, but one has to wonder why Heather was so concerned about the file that she ordered it removed from view and then lied about doing so. I guess the Martinez administration doesn't care because they obviously felt completely comfortable appointing him to two, not just one, jobs within the administration.

April 18, 2011 at 04:04 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Heather Wilson, Susana Martinez | Permalink


What is the job and is Hone qualified to do it?

Posted by: qofdisks | Apr 18, 2011 5:23:23 PM

Must be nice to be related to one of Martinez's pals. Hone has no business holding down a job like that and he wouldn't be there unless his wife kissed Susana's ass.

Posted by: Sean | Apr 19, 2011 9:19:01 PM

So Heather is a liar about ordering the file hidden and her hubby has been involved in some shady stuff with kids that was worth hiding. Why would New Mexicans want these people anywhere near government?

I've also heard many times that Wilson is gay and her hubby probably is too. The rumor is she kept a girlfriend in an apt in DC when she was in congress. Nobody would care but she is against gay rights and that makes her a hypocrite.

Posted by: lizardlouis | Apr 20, 2011 1:23:54 AM