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Dems complain to feds about coordination

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The Democratic Party of New Mexico filed complaints this week with the Federal Elections Commission and the Internal Revenue Service alleging Gov. Susana Martinez’s re-election campaign improperly coordinated efforts with the pro-Martinez political group New Mexico Competes.

The Governor’s Office spokesman and the governor’s political adviser, Jay McCleskey, have previously denied any connection between the Martinez campaign and New Mexico Competes.

New Mexico Competes, a tax-exempt group not required to disclose its donors, joined the state’s political fray this year with a series of ads backing Martinez’s actions on recent corporate tax cuts, proposed public education initiatives and other issues.

IRS-designated “social welfare” organizations, such as New Mexico Competes, are prohibited from coordinated electioneering with a candidate’s official campaign efforts.

Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman said the complaint about coordination is based on quotes in a recent National Journal article that linked McCleskey to the group.

“If McCleskey is doing both, then that’s obviously a violation,” Bregman said.

Gov. Susana Martinez on Wednesday disputed allegations that her campaign had coordinated in any way with New Mexico Competes. “There’s no coordination,” she told the Journal.

The Republican governor, who has clashed with Bregman in the past, told reporters to “consider the source” of the complaint.

Republicans earlier this year criticized the Democratic-leaning group New Mexico Prosperity for alleged coordination with the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Bregman said Wednesday that he didn’t know anything about the group.

Flattering Take: The New Mexico governor and her potential for a national office bid were the cover story for the Washington Examiner in this week’s edition of the magazine, distributed in the nation’s capital.

The mostly positive story published Monday by the conservative-leaning publication highlighted Martinez’s connection with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican favorite for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, according to recent polling.

That relationship, the article suggests, could grow into a vice presidential nomination for Martinez although the governor has repeatedly said she would not leave New Mexico to pursue national office because of obligations to care for her disabled sister living in Las Cruces.

The article goes on to call Martinez the “prohibitive favorite” to win re-election as governor in New Mexico in 2014.

JoHNSON PAC: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has started his own political action committee designed to help elect “liberty-minded” candidates.

The group, Our America PAC, is designed to be a tool to raise money that can help candidates compete against “establishment” candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties. The PAC expands upon Johnson’s earlier effort to promote libertarian politics through the tax-exempt political group Our America Initiative.

Johnson was the 2012 Libertarian Party presidential nominee.

Contact James Monteleone at jmonteleone@abqjournal.com.

 

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