The latest Republican “star” to find themselves in the midst of a corruption scandal is New Mexico governor, Susana Martinez. According to a 22 page complaint filed in February on behalf of two whistleblowers, a company owned by Martinez’s Secretary for New Mexico’s Department of Economic Development secretly benefitted from a state tax credit program. The complaint further alleges that Jon Barela and his Deputy, Barbara Brazil, “ignored waste and mismanagement” at the state’s Spaceport project in southern New Mexico. Brazil allegedly ran several Dairy Queen Franchises while she was on New Mexico’s payroll. The complaint goes on to allege that Martinez instructed a staff member to conduct “sensitive government business “on his personal email account to evade public record requests. [Adalia Woodbury, Politics USA]A former New Mexico US Representative, now South Dakota college president, ran a political campaign for a Southwest Republican governor now reeling from the Albuquerque Police Department scandal.
Petty. Vindictive. Weak on policy. And yet she's being hailed as the Republican Party's great new hope. The question on everyone's mind is this: Can Susana Martinez overcome all these shortfalls should 2016 come calling? There's still time for her to harness the charisma and keen strategic instincts that won over both juries and voters, and to curb her worst impulses and rid herself of the advisers who have indulged them. Can Martinez follow the path of Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, two governors who rose from provincial acclaim to national stature—or will her ascent end more like Palin's? [Andy Kroll, Mother Jones]Posted at Slate:
The most troubling revelations in Kroll's piece are about Martinez's lack of knowledge. In one leaked email, Martinez expresses ignorance of the controversy over the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a nuclear waste storage site that is highly controversial in New Mexico and has been for years. Kroll also has a recording of a 2010 campaign conference call about the state's Commission on the Status of Women that shows that Martinez doesn't feel she needs to know anything about an office to know she's against it. [Amanda Marcotte, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez Has a Foul Mouth and Isn't Big on Facts. She Could Be President.]Steve Terrell writes in the Santa Fe New Mexican:
Jay McCleskey, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s political adviser, is probably the best known political consultant in the state. So it might not be surprising that, according to the most recent batch of campaign finance reports filed this week, he’s also the best paid consultant in New Mexico’s gubernatorial race this year. [Terrell, Governor’s adviser McCleskey is top-paid consultant in race]The Albuquerque Journal reports that the Martinez campaign staff includes at least one member of the scrum Heather Wilson used in her failed US Senate bid. Wilson is now President of South Dakota School of Mines. She wants to bury radioactive waste in South Dakota:
The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology announced Thursday a partnership with RESPEC, a local mining and energy company, to conduct experiments in the Pierre shale formation east of Rapid City to better understand how the rock formation behaves during mining. The research would examine how the formation might work for storage of energy products and disposal of waste. The waste disposal could be used for byproducts of fracking operations like flowback water or slurries from drilling, which can pick up radioactive elements that are naturally occurring in the ground, said Lance Roberts, RESPEC senior vice president. He said it could also be used for radioactive waste like from nuclear energy operations. School of Mines President Heather Wilson said the next step is to begin developing initial experiments as well as working to leverage the investment from the state to increase funding from other sources, like the federal government and private industry. [Jennifer Naylor Gesick, Rapid City Journal]Gesick also told readers of the Rapid City Journal about the mysterious "unattended death" of a School of Mines researcher.