The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has made public hundreds of records related to its investigation into the use of private email accounts by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.
Martinez’s office on Wednesday reiterated its position that the emails were stolen and criticized the move by Attorney General Gary King as playing politics. King, a Democrat, has said he plans to run against Martinez for governor in 2014.
King’s office typically declines to comment publicly on any matters related to its investigations, but attorney general’s spokesman Phil Sisneros said Wednesday that the released records — primarily emails from accounts affiliated with the governor’s 2010 election campaign — were made public “because they’re public documents provided by a public source.”
The Attorney General’s Office released the documents to the Santa Fe Reporter, a weekly newspaper, in response to an Inspection of Public Records Act request in November. The Reporter published the documents on its website Wednesday.
Those documents, including nearly 600 pages of private emails, are wide-ranging in subject matter and have been the subject of earlier news coverage after they were made public by a Martinez critic who had come into possession of them.
They include examples of state business being conducted on private email, such as state officials discussing last year’s controversial racino lease award to the Downs at Albuquerque.
But the records released by King’s office also include personal matters, such as retailer confirmations of online undergarment orders apparently placed by the governor on what appears to be a personal credit card.
“Obviously, it was determined that those were in fact public documents,” Sisneros said. “As you know, the attorney general has always been in favor of as much transparency as possible by all state agencies, including our own.”
King in July launched an investigation into the private Martinez administration emails after receiving the records from Independent Source PAC Director Michael Corwin, an outspoken critic of the governor who has not identified his source for the documents.
The Governor’s Office has charged that the email records were stolen, and Martinez has asked the FBI to investigate. Corwin has said the emails were legally obtained.
Martinez’s chief legal counsel, Jessica Hernandez, said many of the documents King’s office released don’t relate to state business — meaning they don’t meet the definition of a public record under state law.
“The governor is appalled that, in a blatantly political maneuver, Gary King would interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation by releasing stolen personal emails, including receipts for undergarments and personal bank account numbers that have no relevance whatsoever to state business,” Hernandez said.
Sisneros disputed the politics claim. “I can unequivocally say that this had nothing to do with politics, not from our end,” he said.
Many of the private emails addressing state business were previously released by Corwin.
After the disclosure earlier this year of Martinez administration officials conducting state business via personal email accounts, Martinez mandated that all state employees use state-operated email accounts when conducting state business.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal