Friday, May 29, 2009

SIC Won't Relinquish Subpoenas

The State Investment Council has refused to give news organizations, including The New Mexican, copies of subpoenas from a federal grand jury investigating transactions involving New Mexico's state endowment funds.

In an email sent to me, and assumedly other reporters, SIC spokesman Charles Wollmann wrote

Under the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) documents may not be disclosed when such records or information are compiled for law enforcement purposes and could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, or deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication. ...

This office is cooperating fully with the Federal grand jury investigation and is honoring the general secrecy of grand juries pursuant to federal rules and will not interfere in this or any investigation.

State agencies have not been consistent in releasing subpoenas they have received.

For instance, in February Gov. Bill Richardson's office gave me and other news organizations copies of a subpoena regarding the grand jury investigation into the CDR investigation. (That's the California company that was paid $1.5 million for work on state transportation bonds -- about the same time it was contributing generously to Richardson political committees.

New Mexico's $11.8 billion in investments have made headlines in recent weeks because some of the same figures embroiled in a kickback scandal in New York have handled some of this state's investments -- and contributed to New Mexico politicians -- as well.

In this state investment broker Marc Correra has shared in $15 millions in finder's fees for his work as a third-party marketer, leading his clients to state investment deals.