Feb 09 2016

Behavioral Health Providers Cleared; Now Who Will Investigate Governor?

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Martinez Shut Down Behavioral Health System on False Pretenses, Gave Contracts to Donors

The Democratic Party of New Mexico welcomed news on Monday that the Attorney General Hector Balderas had cleared the last of the behavioral health providers charged by the state with fraud, but the party also called for an investigation into Gov. Susana Martinez and her role in effectively shutting down more than a dozen behavioral health providers and then giving lucrative contracts to one of her largest campaign donors to do take on the work.

“The Attorney General’s decision, while welcomed, doesn’t begin to bring justice for the providers who lost their livelihoods, the patients who lost their care and the students who went without critical support services,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “These providers and their patients did nothing wrong, but Susana Martinez did. She shut down these community-based businesses with no evidence so that she could throw millions of dollars in contracts to a fat-cat donor. The real investigation that’s needed here is an investigation into Gov. Susana Martinez’s decision to strip care away from thousands of New Mexicans while lining the pockets of her campaign contributors.”

Optum Health, whose Arizona-based behavioral health providers were whisked in to provide services after the governor and her administration shut down local providers, has been a major contributor to the governor’s campaigns, the Republican and even “wined and dined” the governor’s official staff in advance of getting the lucrative contracts, according to local newspaper reports.

“This is cronyism, plain and simple,” Kabourek said. “Susana Martinez shut down hard-working, local behavioral health services providers in order to pay back her high-dollar campaign contributors – and New Mexican families paid the very high price.”

This latest example of the governor’s using her authority to benefit a wealthy few is, unfortunately, nothing new, Kabourek said.

“From the FBI’s investigation of the governor to her own secretary of standing ending up in jail on corruption charges, the Martinez Administration has been plagued by scandal after scandal,” Kabourek said. “The unjustified destruction of our state’s behavioral health system to benefit her wealthy friends is just another example of Gov. Susana Martinez abusing her power to benefit her wealthy friends. New Mexicans deserve better and they deserve answers.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/behavioral-health-providers-cleared-now-who-will-investigate-governor/

Feb 04 2016

DPNM: Espinoza’s New-Found Interest in Election Law Politically Expedient

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Contact: Doug Pacheco
Phone: (505) 231-5990

Rep Introduces 3 Elections Bills 24 Hours After Filing Candidacy for Sec of State

The Democratic Party of New Mexico on Wednesday called Rep. Nora Espinoza’s new-found interest in
elections law a political stunt that has her, once again, using her official position in the Legislature to
boost her candidacy for Secretary of State.

Specifically, within 24 hours of filing as a candidate for Secretary of State, Espinoza introduced three
election-related bills—issues she hasn’t addressed in her previous nine years in the Legislature.
“For nine years Rep. Nora Espinoza has been in the New Mexico House of Representatives,” said Joe
Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director, “and the first time she introduces any
elections-related legislation is less than 24 hours after she files to run for Secretary of State? New
Mexicans deserve better. After the scandals that rocked the Secretary of State’s office during Dianna
Duran’s tenure, people want change. New Mexicans deserve a Secretary of State who understands how
to make state government accountable and transparent—not a Secretary of State who conveniently
discovered elections law after she announced her candidacy.”

Last week, DPNM also filed an ethics complaint against Espinoza after she directed local radio show
listeners to go to her official legislative website to get information about her candidacy for Secretary of
State. Use of official government resources for campaigning is strictly prohibited.
According to DPNM, Espinoza’s recent introduction of legislation looks like she is again trying to leverage
her official position to benefit her campaign.

“Rep. Espinoza never cared about election law until today,” Kabourek said. “Now she’s looking to use
last-minute legislative proposals to try to boost her candidacy for Secretary of State. Rep. Espinoza’s
constituents elected her to represent them, not to grandstand during the legislative session to promote
her own career.”

In a 30-day budget session, only non-budget bills that receive a “message” from the governor can be
heard. As of Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s website did not show any new messages issued since
Espinoza introduced her bills.

“Gov. Susana Martinez has already endorsed Rep. Espinoza for Secretary of State,” Kabourek said. “The
governor’s own political action committee sent out an email last week asking the governor’s supporters
to get behind Rep. Espinoza’s candidacy. Will the governor give her hand-picked candidate a message on
her elections bills to help raise her profile? Given the scandals and corruption that have plagued the Martinez Administration, it seems likely that Gov. Martinez will once again work the system to support one of her cronies.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-espinozas-new-found-interest-in-election-law-politically-expedient/

Jan 31 2016

Does Martinez Still support GOP SOS Candidate Who Used Government Resources for Campaign?

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Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

The Democratic Party of New Mexico is calling on Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday to clarify whether she still supports prospective Republican secretary of state candidate Rep. Nora Espinoza after KOB 4 revealed yesterday that Espinoza had used official government resources for her campaign.

“Does Gov. Martinez continue to support Rep. Nora Espinoza’s bid for Secretary of State?” asked Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “Does Gov. Martinez condone the use of government resources for campaigning? Given the recent scandals that have plagued the Martinez Administration and the secretary of state’s office, these are important questions that deserve immediate answers.”

Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday sent out an email through her political action committee, SusanaPAC, urging people to support Rep. Nora Espinoza for secretary of state by helping collect the signatures legally required to place Espinoza on the ballot. At the same time, evidence surfaced showing that Espinoza was using her legislative website and contact information to support her campaign for secretary of state.

“It is very clear: Rep. Nora Espinoza was using legislative resources during the legislative session to campaign for Secretary of State,” Kabourek said. “Espinoza said herself on the radio that her legislative website was the place to go for information about her campaign. New Mexicans need a strong, ethical secretary of state. Will Gov. Martinez continue to put politics over ethics and maintain her support for Espinoza?”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/does-martinez-still-support-gop-sos-candidate-who-used-government-resources-for-campaign/

Jan 29 2016

Martinez Administration’s Scandals, Cronyism Hurting New Mexico Economy

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Research Shows Gov. Needs to Allow Ethics Reforms to Create Jobs

Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

According to research recently released by a University of New Mexico professor, the state’s reputation for corruption and cronyism – which landed New Mexico at the top of a recent list of the worst-run states – is part of the reason that the state’s economy is failing and, in order to create jobs, Gov. Susana Martinez must finally act to pass meaningful ethics reforms.

“This study confirms what most New Mexicans already know: The lack of public trust in government under the Martinez Administration is hurting our state and businesses are holding back because of it,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico Executive Director. “If Gov. Martinez is serious about turning our economy around and creating jobs, she needs to stop holding ethics reform hostage and start working across the aisle to clean up her administration.”

The study specifically cited an independent ethics commission and improved campaign finance reporting as two key ways to restore trust in government and to encourage businesses to set up shop and stay in New Mexico.

While legislators on both sides of the aisle have introduced legislation to address these issues, Martinez has failed to allow the legislature to act – something only the Governor can do.

“We must act now to restore faith in New Mexico’s leaders,” Kabourek said. “From a federal grand jury investigation of the governor to the former secretary of state spending time in jail, public trust in government is at an all-time low. The governor can’t continue to ignore these problems. Hard-working New Mexicans are paying the price as their jobs disappear and they can’t find work to put food on the table.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/martinez-administrations-scandals-cronyism-hurting-new-mexico-economy/

Jan 21 2016

State of the GOP States: A State of Disarray

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/state-of-the-gop-states-a-state-of-disarray/

Jan 21 2016

DPNM: Gov Issues 26 ‘Messages’; All Send Wrong Message to New Mexicans

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Contact: Joe Kabourek
Phone: (505) 830-3650

Martinez Allows Legislature to Consider Her Pet Issues, But Ethics Not on Agenda

Despite more than a half dozen bills on ethics and campaign reform having been filed already in this legislative session, the 26 executive messages that Gov. Susana Martinez issued on Wednesday involved only the governor’s pet issues and did nothing to indicate consideration of bills that would directly address the egregious ethical lapses in her administration, said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland.

“It is clear that ethics in state government is not a priority for Gov. Susana Martinez,” Haaland said. “Instead of getting down to the business of fixing state government and restoring New Mexicans’ trust in their leaders, the governor is playing politics again.”

The more than two-dozen messages issued on Wednesday included teen curfews, mandatory flunking for third-graders and revoking immigrant driver’s licenses. The governor has not been willing to talk about ethics and campaign reform since news broke that she is under federal grand jury investigation and since her secretary of state was convicted on corruption charges, but Martinez had alluded in her state of the state address that she would allow some campaign finance issues to be considered.

“Why is the governor afraid of having an open debate about the kinds of ethics reforms that we need in New Mexico?” Chairwoman Haaland said. “Whether it’s creating an effective ethics commission or allowing for the governor’s discretionary fund—which she used for her now infamous pizza party—to be audited, there are good bills ready to be considered that will start to change the culture of corruption that has flourished under the Martinez Administration.”

The primary focus of this year’s 30-day legislative session is to pass a budget for the state. Only the governor has the power to allow non-budget bills to be considered. That means it is up to the governor to keep her word and support ethics reforms. Given the short duration of the session, the longer it takes for a bill to be considered, the less likely that bill is to pass. There are 28 days left in this year’s session.

“The people of New Mexico cannot wait any longer,” Haaland said. “The time is now for Gov. Martinez to break her own silence and allow the Legislature to debate ethics reform legislation. What is the governor waiting for?”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.sandovaldemocrats.org/dpnm-gov-issues-26-messages-all-send-wrong-message-to-new-mexicans/

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