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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Politics 24/7: Susana Martinez Formed PAC Less Than 2 Months After Taking Office

MartinezScowlCr According to an AP story, New Mexico's right-wing governor, Susana Martinez, used $5,000 of her leftover gubernatorial campaign money to create a political PAC in late February -- less than two months after her administration took office. At a time when most newly elected governors would be busy making staffing decisions, learning the ropes and working hard to create a coherent strategy for the upcoming legislative session, Martinez was apparently hung up on continuing her campaign activities via Susana PAC.

According to her campaign spokesman, the governor planned to back legislative candidates with "pro-growth economic policies that keep taxes low and reduce regulations, reform the education system to increase accountability and results in the classroom, and protect New Mexicans with common sense policies like ending the practice of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants." In other words, it appears she'll be shilling on behalf of GOP candidates who toe the administration line on right-wing wedge issues.

Funny, the next legislative election isn't until 2012, when all 112 seats at the Roundhouse are up for grabs. What was the hurry? According to the article,

With a PAC, Martinez will have flexibility to spend and raise money to influence legislative races next year without draining her re-election fund, which will be needed in 2014 and had a cash balance of nearly $327,000 earlier this month.

Wow, that's quite a balance after a heated gubernatorial contest. Then again, the Martinez campaign was the recipient of huge sums of cash from Texans, oil and gas and other moneyed big-business interests. I guess even she had a hard time spending all she received. And I'm sure she thinks it's a good idea to hang onto some of that cash because new campaign finance rules now prohibit donations larger than $5,000 to statewide and legislative candidates.

DPNM Weighs In
After learning about the new PAC, Javier Gonzales, who chairs the Democratic Party of New Mexico, had this to say:

Susana PAC is a clear move by Susana Martinez to continue to promote wedge issues at the expense of New Mexico's families who are looking for leadership in job growth.

The truth is Democrats are right on the issues when it comes to economic growth. Investments in education, manufacturing and clean industries will be the key for putting New Mexico back to work and Democratic Legislators will be at the forefront of those efforts.

Campaign Spending Questions
Serious questions have been raised about Gov. Martinez's use of gubernatorial campaign funds post-election. Somo Un Pueblo Unido and Common Cause New Mexico challenged whether the governor had a right under state campaign spending restrictions to spend campaign money on radio ads during the legislative session advocating the repeal of driver's licenses for foreign nationals. Although the language of the law seems to clearly prohibit such use, New Mexico's Republican Secretary of State, Dianna Duran, said she saw no problem with it. However, Attorney General Gary King said the ads appeared to be lobbying, rather than campaign, expenses.

Apparently, Martinez's new PAC was designed to avoid such questions about her use of campaign funds going forward. I'm sure we'll be seeing and hearing a bunch of Susana-PAC ads in the coming months and all the way up until election day 2012 attacking Democrats on Susana's issues of choice -- stirring up New Mexican's about immigration, protecting tax breaks for the rich at almost any cost to vital government programs, ditching common-sense regulations that protect our air, land and water and blaming teachers for problems caused by economic and social inequities.

April 19, 2011 at 09:47 PM in 2012 Legislature Races, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Political Ads, Susana Martinez | Permalink


Javier's statement: The truth is Democrats are right on the issues when it comes to economic growth. The very next words out of the Chairman's mouth should be: RAISE TAXES ON THE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES. That is the only way out.

Posted by: Mary Ellen | Apr 19, 2011 10:45:33 PM

I hope the D party is preparing NOW for these attacks. If they ignore legislative races like they did last time we will lose even more than the 8 seats we lost last time.

Posted by: Cruces | Apr 20, 2011 11:32:05 AM

This did not happen because Martinez is a strategist like Karl Rove. This is so that vehicles created by the oil money from Texas can find a home in the Governor's office.

The money and the machine behind the Republican party in Texas is here and is staying. Better figure out how to deal with it.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Apr 20, 2011 3:05:13 PM

You are close Stuart but not quite. Martinez has Rove as her strategist AND she has the Texas oil money. The Democrats have??????

Posted by: Old Dem | Apr 20, 2011 3:44:38 PM

Get the young New Mexicans involved with a push to decriminalize weed and return honesty and facts to Govt actions.

Posted by: myagent2000 | Apr 23, 2011 7:32:42 PM