According to the letter, released to the Journal on Friday by the Governor’s Office in response to an Inspection of Public Records Act request, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales late last month confirmed that an investigation had been initiated.
“I can report that the FBI and this Office have initiated an investigation into this matter,” Gonzales wrote.
The Journal’s request asked for written communications between Martinez’s office and federal law enforcement agencies regarding her complaint. Some of the emails in question have subsequently been released by a Democrat-leaning PAC funded largely by organized labor.
The U.S. attorney’s letter was the sole document released in response to the Journal’s request.
Martinez called Gonzales on Sept. 24 to ask about the status of her request for an investigation into how emails sent to her campaign email address, Susana2010.com, were obtained and released to the public by the Albuquerque-based Independent Source PAC.
Gonzales’ letter goes slightly beyond the normal response that federal authorities will “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of any federal investigation.
“I am not able to provide any specific details about the investigation at this time,” Gonzales wrote on Sept. 25. “Please be assured that I will contact you with additional information if and when it is appropriate for me to do so.”
Independent Source PAC director Michael Corwin has refused to say where he got the emails but has insisted that his source obtained them legally.
Corwin did not respond to a Journal request for comment late Friday. He has said the emails were obtained after the Susana2010.com domain’s website expired and was purchased by the PAC’s source through a domain auction.
Copies of the released emails have been a source of ongoing controversy between the PAC and the Martinez administration.
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said the governor, a former prosecutor, had inquired about the investigation.
“As the victim who reported this crime to the FBI, the governor reached out to federal law enforcement to inquire about what, if anything, could be appropriately shared with her regarding the status of the investigation,” Darnell said.
“The governor has complete confidence in the federal law enforcement investigating this matter and believes the person or persons who committed this crime will be brought to justice,” Darnell said.
Corwin has asked for the FBI to investigate the state fairgrounds racino lease with the Downs at Albuquerque based on some of the emails the PAC released.
Martinez used the Susana2010.com Web domain during her 2010 gubernatorial campaign. More than merely a website, a Web domain can also include the computer servers that host a website and its affiliated email addresses.
The emails released by the PAC this year include a memo from a Public Education Department spokesman, who compiled a list of nonunion teachers and their email addresses in response to a request from Martinez’s political consultant, Jay McCleskey.
That message prompted two Democratic legislators to ask Attorney General Gary King to investigate whether state resources were used for political purposes in violation of state law.
Other emails released by Independent Source PAC were sent last year by Albuquerque lawyer Pat Rogers, who is also a Republican National Committee member from New Mexico, to top-ranking Martinez staffers on the subject of the new lease to operate a horse racing track and casino at the state fairgrounds in Albuquerque.
The Governor’s Office has said the emails were never received by Martinez administration officials.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal