Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Raw! Uncensored! The Shocking E-mails Mary Herrera Did Not Want You to See!

If only they were that sensational ...

I got pristine copies of some of the e-mails that were completely blacked out in the versions provided to to reporters in last Friday's 400-plus page document dump by the Secretary of State's Office.

Read my latest story HERE.

I'm still trying to figure out which exception under the Inspection of Public Records Act justified the redacting of these letters.

Even more so, I'm completely baffled as to why these letters would be blacked out at all.

The content of a Feb. 15 e-mail from Santa Fe County elections director Denise Lamb — sent Feb. 15 to Herrera, recently resigned Elections Bureau direcor A.J. Salazar, Deputy Secretary of State Francisco Trujillo and others — was completely redacted by Herrera's office.

A copy of the letter provided by Lamb shows that the e-mail simply said the Santa Fe County Clerk had "exhausted" its supply of registration forms in Spanish. Lamb was requesting 500 more copies from the secretary of state.

Granted, other e-mails between the two offices provided by Lamb show an increasing frustration on Lamb's part in trying to obtain various forms from the SOS. Under a new policy, all form requests for county clerks have to be approved by Trujillo.

But the e-mail from Lamb that was completely redacted is a simple request for 500 new Spanish-language voter forms.

Then there were Feb. 13 e-mails from Think New Mexico officials. They were trying to get Herrera's endorsement of a bill dealing with campaign contributions that the think tank was pushing.

In that e-mail to Salazar, Think New Mexico director Fred Nathan basically talks up the bill and notes that several other state officials were supporting it.

An e-mail that same day from Associate Director Kristina Gray Fisher is even more mundane. She merely tells Salazar she's attaching an electronic copy of the campaign finance bill.

And yet, the SOS decided to completely black it out.

While these cases of innocuous messages being blacked out do seem funny, they raise serious questions about how well the Secretary of State understands the Inspection of Public Records Act.