Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rogers Resigns From FOG

Republican lawyer Pat Rogers on Friday night resigned from his position as a board member of Foundation for Open Government following news stories highlighting private emails he sent to high ranking members of Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.


"... it is clear that this, my prompt resignation will allow NMFOG and all of the NMFOG volunteers to concentrate on your critical First Amendment and open government mission and avoid further distractions by an issue that has become improperly politicized," Rogers wrote.

Rogers in his letter referred to a July 2 commentary by blogger Heath Haussamen that called on Rogers to resign from the FOG board due to conflicts of interest created by Rogers serving as a Republican National Committeeman, and representing interests such as the Downs at Albuquerque while also serving on the open-government group.

The recently released emails show Rogers contacting Martinez's chief of staff Keith Gardner and deputy chief of staff Ryan Cangiolosi -- on their personal email accounts -- and sometimes others about a variety of matters, including the controversial Downs deal, other clients he represents including Motorola, which sells communication equipment to state police and Scientific Games International, which has a  $7 million contract with the state Gaming Control Board to monitor gaming machines at racetrack casinos.

The emails were given to reporters by Independent Source PAC, a union-funded group that is highly critical of Martinez.

Many of these emails consisted of Rogers trying to set up meetings between his clients and the administration.

There were cases in which Rogers was trying to influence the selection of governor's appointments. He called one applicant for state engineer a "knucklehead."

And there were a number of attempts at humor, some of which Rogers probably wishes he never wrote. For instance, after Martinez appointed openly-gay Public Regulation Commission Doug Howe, Rogers wrote to Cangiolosi and the governor's political director Jay McCleskey saying, “He promised on his boyfriend’s grave he would support (Republican Commissioner) Pat Lyons for Chair, right?”

Wrong.

Though the emails provided a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a prominent Republican lawyer and lobbyist worked the administration, no illegal activity was documented in the emails, which Rogers and the governor herself say were stolen.

Rogers wrote, "It has been a significant honor to represent NMFOG in court, before the Legislature and in the community. I hope NMFOG continues to perform its important work and continues to prosper and grow."

new logo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2012
For more info contact:
Gwyneth Doland

info@nmfog.org

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government tonight accepted the resignation of longtime board member Pat Rogers. His letter is pasted below.

"We appreciate Pat's service over many years to FOG and his dedication to the First Amendment. We understand and appreciate his decision," said NMFOG's board President Terri Cole.


July 20, 2012


Dear Ms. Cole and Members of the NMFOG Executive Committee:

Although I appreciate the effort of the NMFOG Executive Board to schedule a meeting to discuss Mr. Haussamen's concerns about my continuing membership in NMFOG, it is clear that this, my prompt resignation will allow NMFOG and all of the NMFOG volunteers to concentrate on your critical First Amendment and open government mission and avoid further distractions by an issue that has become improperly politicized.

While even the most virulent partisans calling for my NMFOG resignation admit (as they must) that my actions were always lawful, it is also a fact I sent e-mails to individuals in government using an address that was not a state-issued address.  Use of personal e-mail addresses is a universal practice. My attempted use, however, as highlighted by the publication of certain portions of the stolen emails (emails that  were never received by the intended recipients) has become a significant distraction for this organization.  Moving forward, perhaps NMFOG can recommend changes to update the state law on this issue and develop an approach that is consistently applied to all government and to all persons interacting with government.

It has been a significant honor to represent NMFOG in court, before the Legislature and in the community. I hope NMFOG continues to perform its important work and continues to prosper and grow.  In calling for my resignation, Mr. Haussamen also notes that my service as New Mexico's National Committeeman to the Republican National Committee gave him concerns, as well: "I wondered how he would be able to juggle heavy involvement in a nonpartisan government watchdog organization with such a partisan position".

Perhaps to avoid embarrassing me any further, he does not note my related work as the former General Counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party and my representation of various Republican presidential candidates, Ralph Nader, and the many elected Republican officials, committees, and candidates over the years.  In addition to open government, I believe that political participation, competition, debate and principled dissent are also vital to the health of our society.  I am honored and proud of my work for all of my clients.  My clients, as NMFOG did, receive zealous representation all within the bounds of the law and professional ethics.

Please extend my appreciation and best personal wishes to the entire NMFOG Board.

Best regards,
Pat Rogers



The Santa Fe Reporter this week wrote a lengthy article about the Rogers emails. You can find it HERE.

Blogger Joe Monahan posted all the emails HERE. (Warning: Have your reading glasses handy for these.)


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