Friday, April 30, 2010

On the Tube

Gov. Bill Richardson will appear on NBC’s Meet the Press this weekend to discuss immigration, financial reform and other issues on the show’s Sunday roundtable.

Remember the last time he was on that show?

The show airs at 9 am Sunday on Channel 4.

Also coming up on TV, at least for Comcast subscribers, are some candidates forums for the contested governor and lieutenant primaries.

The Republican forums will be moderated by Marco Gonzales, a long time Republican activist and former Congressional candidate. He practices law with the Santa Fe based firm, Modrall Sperling, where he is also a partner.

The Democratic forum will be moderated by Chris Garcia, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico.

Candidates will be answering questions drawn up by the political science departments of UNM and New Mexico State University.

Each session is scheduled for one hour and will be aired on local Comcast access channels across the State of New Mexico beginning on Friday May 7 in the following areas and channels:

Santa Fe 21, Albuquerque 77, Farmington 9, Gallup 21, Grants 10, Las Vegas 23, Los Alamos 70, Las Cruces 98, Lovington 51, Silver City 21 and Socorro 12.

The programs will also be available anytime on Comcast Video on Demand platforms in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Farmington beginning on Monday May 10 and accessible until May 31.

The tapings aren't publi events, so, no you can't go cheer your candidate.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Johnson Would Have Vetoed the Arizona Immigration Bill

This won't win much applause at the next Tea Party former Gov. Gary Johnson speaks at.
Former Gov. Gary Johnson
“I vetoed over 750 bills as governor of New Mexico, and I would absolutely have vetoed this bill if it came across my desk,” Johnson said in a press release today about the the controversial Arizona immigration law .

"I understand the frustration in Arizona. I experienced the same type of concerns in New Mexico when I was governor, but racial profiling is not the answer," he said.

Johnson said border problems are caused by "strict drug prohibition laws that provide increased leverage and power to Mexican drug cartels."

Said Johnson, "In addition to citizens being stripped of their rights and subjected to unfair searches, this law is ultimately unfair to law enforcement, who will be left to implement a law that although well intended, is misguided in its attempt to reduce border crime, and is bound to have undesirable consequences.”

Senate Confirms Gonzales

The U.S. Senate today unanimously confirmed Ken Gonzales to be New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney.

The states two senators reacted:

"Ken Gonzales has all the right qualifications for this very important position and I commend President Obama for nominating him. I’m very pleased that the Senate acted quickly – and unanimously -- to approve Ken and I wish him well in his new job," Sen Jeff Bingaman said.

"Throughout his career, Ken Gonzales has shown a commitment to the people of New Mexico and the pursuit of justice,” Sen. Tom Udall said. "His legal expertise and decade of statewide service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney have prepared him well to lead this important office. I congratulate Ken on his unanimous confirmation by the Senate and wish him great success serving as New Mexico's U.S. Attorney.”

Gonzales is a graduate of Pojoaque High School. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of New Mexico.

He's a career prosecutor who worked for the U.S. Attorney’s New Mexico offices in Las Cruces and Albuquerque since 1999. Previously, Gonzales served as a judicial law clerk to Chief Justice Joseph Baca of the New Mexico Supreme Court, and was a legislative assistant to Bingaman on criminal justice, Indian affairs and other issues.

Gonzales also worked as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army.

Now That Cockfighting's Gone ...

The New Mexico Legislature needs another fun issue to get everyone riled up.

Maybe they'll take a cue from our neighbor to the West.

No, I'm not talking about immigration. I'm not even talking about Arizona's birther bill.
I'm talking about an issue that so far nobody in New Mexico has had the gut to deal with:


Here's something from today's Arizona Republic:

The House also gave tentative approval to two bills that seek to regulate human embryos. Senate Bill 1307 would ban the use of human embryos for stem-cell research, human cloning and human-animal hybrids, something that bill supporters say is a very real possibility.

Here Lies The Wolfboy
If New Mexico isn't quite ready to ban these monsters, at least we should outlaw those disgraceful human-animal fighting fits in rural parts of the state.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roundhouse Roundup: Passing the Bucks

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 29, 2010

Gov. Bill Richardson’s now defunct charitable foundation, which has been criticized for refusing to reveal who contributed the $1.7 million the foundation raised in its heyday, gave its last $20,000 to an Albuquerque nonprofit group that’s also been criticized for refusing to disclose its full list of contributors.

According to filings with the Internal Revenue Service late last year, Richardson’s Moving America Forward Foundation made a grant of $20,000 sometime in 2008 for a “non-partisan voter-registration” program by the Center for Civic Policy.

The foundation surfaced as a target last year in whistle-blower Frank Foy’s suit claiming political pressure from the Richardson administration resulted in the state making $90 million in bad investments with a Chicago firm.
In a motion filed last year, Foy’s lawyer, Victor Marshall, claimed it “was used as a conduit for making kickbacks” and that “donors used the foundation to launder kickbacks and other illegal inducements in exchange for investment business or other valuable consideration from the Richardson administration, while perhaps making kickbacks tax deductible in the process.”

A foundation lawyer last year called the motion “an irresponsible publicity stunt” and said none of the defendants or other people mentioned in Foy’s lawsuit ever contributed to the foundation.
Marshall said Wednesday that he never has received any of the MAFF’s documents, including contributors. The judge in the case has never ruled on the foundation’s objections, he said.

Marshall has done legal work for The New Mexican.

The Center for Civic Policy and other nonprofits engaged in a “voter education” project that evoked howls from some state lawmakers.

Before the 2008 primary, the nonprofits produced full-color mailers attacking several state lawmakers’ records on ethics reform and pointing out large contributions from corporations and lobbyists.
Shannon Robinson
Among those on the receiving end of the attacks were Sens. Shannon Robinson (pictured left) and James Taylor and Rep. Dan Silva — all Albuquerque Democrats. All three lost in the primary. Robinson in particular blamed the center for his defeat, saying it was unfair that the groups didn’t have to name their contributors.

Attorney General Gary King agreed that the center and the other nonprofits should have to disclose their contributors and took the case to federal court. However, Judge Judith Herrera last year ruled in favor of the nonprofits. King has appealed the case, which is still pending.

Ironically, even though the foundation donated to CCP for the registration drive, Richardson’s campaign fund that year donated to the unsuccessful campaigns of the three incumbents — $5,000 each to Robinson and Taylor, $2,000 to Silva.

The center’s chief executive officer Matt Brix on Wednesday confirmed the grant. He said it was not connected to the “voter education” program to which the defeated legislators objected.

There is no date for the grant listed in the IRS documents. However, records included in the filing indicate that the foundation’s directors met June 12, 2008 — which was after the primary — and voted to allow its consultant, Amanda Cooper (who was also deputy campaign manager for Richardson’s presidential campaign), to disburse the rest of the foundation’s funds to a nonprofit.

According to the foundation’s final 990 report, the group had $27,624 in the bank at the end of 2007. MAFF’s only other expenditures reported were $7,287 on accounting fees and $337 for banking fees and computer depreciation.

In December 2008, the state Public Regulation Commission accepted the dissolution of Moving America Forward Foundation.

Hot New State Government Job

Because of the ongoing state government crunch and the ensuing budget cuts, hiring freezes, etc., it's not very common to hear people calling to create new positions in state government -- especially people from both major political parties.

But there's one new job that's been endorsed by both Republican Heather Wilson, a former member of COngress, and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the only Democrat running for governor:

Inspector General.

In a guest column on Heath Haussamen's blog published today (titled Restoring Ethics, Eight Ways to Clean Up Santa Fe), Wilson wrote:

New Mexico should establish by statute an Office of the Inspector General, and the inspector general should be appointed or elected for a fixed term not contiguous with the governorship and should be responsible for reviewing and testing the integrity of state and local governments. An inspector general could receive and review anonymous complaints, require the production of documents and root out waste and corruption.

While the state auditor looks at finances, an IG could look at compliance with other policies like procurement, personnel policy and regulatory compliance. The existence of multiple organizations and competing political forces can help deter corruption and root it out where it exists.

Denish also has called for an inspector general of sorts. Her recently rolled-out plan to reform government says:

Denish would consolidate all agency inspectors general and fraud and abuse staff in one Office of Government Accountability led by a Chief Performance and Accountability Officer. This person will answer to the Governor and be charged with eliminating fraud, waste and abuse in state government. By taking existing inspector general staff out of their agencies and placing them in an independent office, taxpayers will have an internal watchdog for taxpayer funds that is unbiased and not beholden to departmental personalities or loyalties.

Sounds like ideas worth inspecting

Friday, April 23, 2010

Shootout with Utah

If you've got a concealed-carry license from Utah, it's no longer good here in New Mexico.

According to a statement just released by the state Public Safety Department, Utah's training provisions and other aspects of Utah's license aren't as stringent as those here.

“We’ve had situations where certain concealed carry instructors in New Mexico solicit clients with the promise that if they train here and obtain a Utah license, which entails significantly less training than does a New Mexico license, it will qualify here,” said DPS Secretary John Denko. “This is incorrect, and is nothing less than an effort to circumvent New Mexico concealed carry requirements which are designed to protect the public safety while honoring individual rights under the Second Amendment of the constitution.”

Because of the problems with Beehive State licenses, the DPS plans to review the status of eighteen other states that currently have concealed-carry licenses currently recognized here on an informal basis. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming.

New Mexico currently has a written reciprocity agreement in place with Texas; the status of this agreement will remain unchanged, the DPS says.

Update: DPS Spokesman Peter Olson just told me that what prompted this was his agency learning about Utah firearms instructors coming to this state conducting the training and getting New Mexico residents concealed carry licenses from Utah.

Utah only requires four hours of training and no range time, Olson said. New Mexico requires 15 hours with time at the firing range. The Utah license costs $50, compared with New Mexico's $100.

Olson said there was a list at a sporting goods store in Albuquerque indicating 65 people had signed up for the Utah license class.

One More Update: Steve Aikens, a Clovis firearms instructor and an open-carry advocate, said the DPS is correct.

“This has been a problem,” Aikens said in an email. "As stated, Utah does not meet our requirements and in fact, doesn't have a handgun qualification or competence demonstration requirement, as required in our law. It is also a known fact that there are instructors that recommend a Utah permit, which is recognized in NM, because it is so widely recognized. However, it should have been recommended in addition to a NM permit, not in lieu of a NM permit .”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NM Delegation Wants to Name Interior Building For Stewart Udall

This just in from Sen. Jeff Bingaman's office:

Members of the New Mexico congressional delegation today celebrated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by introducing legislation to name the U.S. Department of Interior building after the late Stewart Udall.

Stewart Udall, the father of U.S. Senator Tom Udall, was the Interior Secretary from 1961 to 1969, serving in the cabinets of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Stewart Udall died last month.

U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced legislation in the Senate that would name the building that houses the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. the “Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building.” U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich led the effort in the House to honor Stewart Udall’s legacy, with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Harry Teague co-sponsoring the measure.

“Stewart Udall was instrumental in the passage of virtually all of our nation’s landmark environmental laws,” said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “In the 161-year history of the Department of the Interior, there have been many exceptional individuals who have served as Secretary of the Interior. Stewart Udall certainly ranks among the best of them. In recognition of his lifetime of work pursuing the common good and protecting our nation’s public lands and waters, and in particular his achievements as Secretary of the Interior, I am proud to have introduced this legislation in the Senate.”

“Stewart Udall’s public service and leadership were a true inspiration to me personally and I was honored to know him,” said Heinrich. “There is no question that Secretary Udall’s immeasurable impact on our nation will continue to be felt by Americans through the magnificent National Parks and public lands that he dedicated his life to preserving. Our nation is deeply indebted to him and today, on Earth Day, it is appropriate that we name the federal building, which contributes so significantly to his lifetime mission, the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building.”

“Throughout the country, from our pristine wilderness to clean rivers, we can see Secretary Udall’s influence,” said Luján. “It would be fitting for the United States Department of Interior building to carry his name and legacy as well.”

“Secretary Stewart Udall’s contributions to the people of our state will live on as we continue his work to protect our public lands and enjoy the benefits of our wilderness areas and National Parks,” said Teague. “It is only appropriate that his memory be immortalized on a Department of Interior building, the agency that is charged with the care of some of his greatest accomplishments.”

Cosponsors in the Senate are Mark Udall (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ) and Harry Reid (D-NV). Cosponsors in the House are Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-7), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1), Harry Mitchell (AZ-5), and Ed Pastor (AZ-4).

Roundhouse Roundup: From the Campaign Trail

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 22, 2010

Note: The first segment of this week's column dealt with CREW's naming Gov. Bill Richardson as one of the 11 worst governors in the country. You can read that, as well as CREW's report on Richardson HERE.

Below is the rest of the column.

Who are the Weh 20? State Democrats are having fun with a remark that Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen Weh made in a joking manner to supporters in Los Lunas this week.

"I like telling people that there's probably 20 people in the state that could be a better governor than I could," Weh said. "But they're not running."

"Needless to say, Allen Weh makes a good point — many, many New Mexicans would make a better governor," state Democratic Party spokesman James Hallinan said Wednesday. "It's the first honest thing we've heard him say in this campaign." The Dems called on Weh to identify the 20 New Mexicans he believes would make a better governor. So far he hasn't.

The invisible endorsement: Like all candidates, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Janice Arnold-Jones usually is quick to zap off a news release whenever she wins an endorsement from a political figure or organization. On Monday, for instance, the Arnold-Jones camp released a statement touting an endorsement by fellow Republican legislator Tom Anderson of Albuquerque.

Arnold-Jones received another endorsement the same day. But somehow the campaign never sent out any public acknowledgment that she'd been endorsed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The union already supports Democrat Diane Denish for governor, but the leadership urged Republican members to vote for Arnold-Jones in the primary, saying that she and AFSCME "are on the same page" on issues such as transparency in government, double-dipping and "against wasteful taxpayer handouts to out-of-state mega-developers."

AFSCME political director Carter Bundy said Wednesday that nationally, Republicans make up about 25 percent of the union members who are registered with a party. In New Mexico, the percentage probably is less than that.

Although she didn't publicly thank the union for its endorsement, Bundy said Arnold-Jones sent a very nice note. "She was very gracious," he said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Richardson in CREW'S "Worst Governors" List

Here's another national list where New Mexico is right toward the top: The Citizens for Ethics & Responsibility in Washington's 11 Worst Governors List.

Of Gov. Bill Richardson, CREW writes that he:

* Used state investments to benefit political allies
* Allowed pay-to-play scandals to plague his administration
* Rewarded close associates with state positions or benefits, including providing a longtime friend and political supporter with a costly state contract
* Failed to make state government more transparent

"In compiling Worst Governors, CREW reviewed the job performances of all 50 U.S. governors before identifying the worst 11, a CREW news release said. "Though ethics laws, campaign finance rules and financial disclosure regulations vary from state to state, CREW found these governors’ proclivities for corruption, cronyism and self-enrichment outweighed their competency, integrity and commitment to transparency."

CREW in 2007 criticized and filed ethics complaints against then New Mexico U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson and Sen. Pete Domenici for their roles in the U,S. Attorney scandal, specifically for calling then U.S. Attorney David Iglesisas about the Manny Aragon investigation. (Iglesias said the calls amounted to political pressure, which Domenici and Wilson have repeatedly denied.) The group also criticized then Rep. Steve Pearce for financial dealings. Pearce denied wrongdoing.

State Republicans, including the staff of the Congress members dismissed CREW as a "partisan" organization. I wonder if they'll do that now that Richardson is in the hot seat.

Richardson is one of two Democrats on the list, the other being New York Gov. David Patterson.

Others on the list include:

• Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS);
• Gov. Donald Carcieri (R-RI);
• Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV);
• Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA);
• Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA);
• Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX);
• Gov. Mike Rounds (R-SD);
• Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC); and
• Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA).

Here's the report:

CREW's Bill Richardson Profile

UPDATE: Why 11 and not, say 10 or a dozen? CREW's Peter Bjork told me in an email, "... we examined the job performance of all 50 US governors using common criteria, and felt that these 11 qualified as the `worst.' The list is unranked, so there wasn’t any need to strive for a nice round number."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Richardson spokeswoman Alarie Ray-Garcia responds: "This report is ridiculous considering Gov. Richardson has led the way for ethics reform in New Mexico. It's also difficult to take it seriously since it relies almost exclusively on the Albuquerque Journal as its source."

Local Tibetan Leaders Heads Earthquake Relief Effort

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 21, 2010

Paljor Thondup has personal reasons for organizing a relief effort for victims of the devastating earthquake last week in western China.

The earthquake, which registered a magnitude of 6.9, was in his homeland, high on the Tibetan plateau.

Thondup, president of Project Tibet in Santa Fe, was born in Jyekundo, capital of the Yushu region of Qinghai Province and the city hardest hit by the quake.

He has a cousin among the missing. "Each family there has lost one or two people there," he said in an interview Tuesday in his Canyon Road office, which has walls decorated with photos and a painting of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.

Thondup is seeking donations to buy medical supplies, tents, blankets and digging tools.

Although the region officially is part of China, the people there primarily are Tibetan, Thondup said.

Thondup owns an office and small factory there that manufactures traditional Tibetan furniture. The buildings were demolished. "Luckily nobody was injured," he said. The earthquake hit about 7 a.m., before his employees got to work.

"Eighty-five percent of the buildings were destroyed," Thondup said.

Chinese officials early this week reported the death toll at more than 1,700 people. By Tuesday, the estimate had risen to 2,000. And, according to Thondup, Tibetans in the region have reported closer to 4,000 dead and more than 10,000 seriously injured.

"When someone dies (in Jyekundo), they are given a 'sky burial,' " Thondup said. He described a funeral ritual in which a body is laid on top of a monastery and vultures come down and consume it. "But so many have died, there's not enough vultures," he said. Instead, the bodies had to be cremated.

One monastery, Thondup said, reported handling 1,200 corpses. "Three others are reporting about the same number," he said.

Relief efforts there have been hampered by recent snows, he said. Also, he said, the Chinese government has been hesitant to allow foreigners in to help with the relief effort.

Thondup came to Santa Fe in 1975 as a student at the College of Santa Fe. "I was the first Tibetan here," he said. Since that time, he said, the community has grown to about 100.

In 1980, he started Project Tibet, a nonprofit organization that imports and sells weavings and rugs from Tibetan refugee handicraft centers and channels the profits back to the refugees.

Thondup said he is working with The Bridge Fund, a New York-based Tibetan charity, on the relief effort.

Those interested in donating can contact Project Tibet at 403 Canyon Road, 982-3002, The e-mail address is

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy 4-20

It must be 4-20. Former Gov. Gary Johnson, one of the fiercest opponents of new taxes this state has ever seen, calls for a new tax -- on legal marijuana, that is
Former Gov. Gary Johnson
Johnson is the only New Mexico politician I know of marking the unofficial marijuana high holiday. His current organization, Our America, released a statement calling for marijuana legalization.

Here's what Johnson says the release:

“It is time we cut the crime rate in this country. The current prohibition laws are forcing drug disputes to be played out with guns in our streets. We need to put a stop to this criminal drug element in our country.”

“If it were not for the prohibition laws in this country, the drug cartels would not be in business. ... This country would be a better place to live if all the resources we currently put towards criminalizing marijuana were instead spent by law enforcement on protection from real crime, as opposed to victimless crime. ...

“My opinion in regards to marijuana is that we should tax it, regulate it, and control it. I want to make it clear that I don’t advocate recreational drug use of any kind. Obviously, it will never be legal to smoke pot, become impaired, and get behind the wheel of car or do harm to others. It will never become legal for kids to smoke pot.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rothenberg Looks at NM Congress Races

Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call and The Rothenberg Political Report thinks Republicans will do well in two of the three Congressional races in New Mexico.

In a new article in Congressional Quarterly, He's practically giving CD2 to Republican Steve Pearce. And now he says CD1, currently held by Democrat Martin Heinrich might be a squeaker. .
About a week ago, the Rothenberg Political Report added this district to our list of almost five dozen House seats in play. We rated it as “Democrat favored.” But after meeting (Republican Jon) Barela and looking more closely at the race, I’ll have to reclassify it as “Leans Democrat” (a more competitive category), and as long as Barela raises enough money to be competitive and the current national mood is unchanged, I’d expect the race in New Mexico’s 1st district to go down to the wire.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gov May Have Violated Public Records Act, AG Says

Gov. Bill Richardson, according to the state attorney Gary King’s staff, appears to have violated the state’s open-records act by denying an open-government group information to identify the 59 political jobs Richardson said he eliminated early this year.

It's not believable that Richardson would make a formal announcement about 59 layoffs last October without the records to support it, Chief Deputy Attorney General Albert Lama wrote in an opinion this week. “It creates the impression that some staff member in the Governor’s Office possesses, contrary to your response letter’s assertions, records pertaining to the 59 exempt employees ...”

Several news organizations, including ours, requested the names, titles and salaries of the exempt employees whose jobs were eliminated to help balance the state budget.

But, as explained by Foundation for Open Government executive director Sarah Welsh in a letter to the attorney general’s office, the only information Richardson provided was a press release about the layoffs and more than 90 pages of e-mail correspondence, mostly between reporters and the governor’s office. Walsh in January asked the attorney to intervene.

Richardson’s office argued that under the Inspection of Public Records Act, a state agency isn’t required to create new documents to meet an open-records request.

But in the Attorney General’s written opinion, “... the information available to us at this time suggests the Governor’s Office possessed additional records that were responsive to Ms. Welsh’s request that were not released for inspection.”

Lama said it’s unlikely that Richardson’s office wouldn’t know which state agencies had the records sought by FOG and the reporters.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos responded, “We respectfully, but strongly disagree with the opinion. The Governor’s Office complied with the law and the Attorney General’s Compliance Guide when it turned over 98 pages of responsive records. The fact that the requester was not satisfied with those records doesn’t mean the Governor’s Office must create new records or act as a clearinghouse for all of state government.”

Here's a copy of the opinion. Unfortunately because of the way it was sent to me, the last 3 pages are crooked. When you get to page 2, just right click, then click "Rotate Counterclockwise." Sorry for that hassle.

IPRA Complaint Determination

3rd CD Campaign Finance Update

Congressional candidate Tom Mullins says he's still having problems getting his report posted on the Federal Election Commission site. But on his Web site he reports raising $ 26,102 in the first quarter, spending $28,399 during that time and having $28,680 in the bank as of March 31.

Mullins' GOP opponent Adam Kokesh reported raising more than $57,000 and spending more than $50,000, which leaves just over $12,000 in the bank.

Democratic incumbent Ben Ray Lujan raised more than $150,000 in the first quarter. He spent more than $61,000 in the last quarter, leaving more than $375,035 cash on hand.

My story about the reports from this morning's paper is HERE

Cooking With Allen

If the governor's race were decided by a cook-off, I bet I know who would be leading.

Watch Republican Allen Weh pander for the Curry County vote. (That's awful. I'm sorry.)

But seriously, some candidates only give you promises. Weh gives you promises and recipes.

Final Count on SOS Voter Card SNAFU

In regard to the story I did a couple of days ago about the mysterious envelope full of 2008 voter cards that appeared this week at the Santa Fe County Bureau of Elections:

According to county elections director Denise Lamb, out of the 104 cards received, 25 people never got registered in time for the 2008 general election.

Two were duplicate forms.

One card was incomplete and would have been sent back to the person who filled it out for more information.

The rest apparently got registered in time for the November election.

It's still not clear why those cards never were processed.

SF Tea Party

Santa Fe Tea Party Apparently April 15 is destined to be a national day of protest over taxes -- at least until the day they abolish the IRS, and you know what Buddy Holly would say about that.

Maybe it's just because it's Santa Fe and so many people know each other, but I really don't sense the intense anger here that I've read about and seen on TV coverage of the Tea Party elsewhere. Yes there's serious disagreement with the Obama administration and other Democrats in power. And yes, there's lots of passion expressed.

But hateful? I didn't hear it. Racist? I didn't see it.

Nobody spit on or cursed state Rep. Brian Egolf -- a Santa Fe Democrat -- as he walked through the crowd. Nobody screamed at him when they were discussing his position on Voter ID bills. The worst thing said there was "you're so full of bluster!" by a woman who stalked off toward the end of that conversation.

Rep. Brian Egolf meets his Republian opponent Brigette RussellTo the right is a photo of Egolf meeting for the first time Brigitte Russell, his Republican opponent in November.

At the risk of sounding too namby-pamby in these divisive times, I actually think it's healthy in these divisive times for people to go down to the Plaza on a sunny day and talk about politics, protest things you don't like. I also think it's healthy for politicians to hear directly from folks who disagree with them and have good, civil exchanges of ideas.

(Gotta run now. Time to feed the unicorns.)

Here's my story in today's paper about Thursday's Tea Party event. CLICK HERE

And here's a link to the Associated Press story about taxes I refer to in the story. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

AFSCME Endorses Colón

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Brian Colón's campaign just got a boost by picking up the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a very active union in Democratic politics.

AFSCME represents more than 12,000 city, county, state, and university employees along with home childcare professionals.
Last night, AFSCME's PAC, New Mexico’s PEOPLE voted 5-0 to endorse Colón for "his understanding of the struggles New Mexican’s are going through because he has been through hard times himself."

In a news release, Mary Gustin of AFSCME said, “Mr. Colón knows it is irresponsible for Santa Fe to balance the budget on the backs of New Mexico’s working families. The workers are the backbone of this state and we know Brian is the right person to be their voice.”

Besides the kind word, the endorsement surely means money for the campaign as well.

Colón was quoted in the release: “I’m honored to have the support of AFSCME. This election is about improving the lives of New Mexicans across our state by helping rebuild our economy and investing in our people."

Another SOS SNAFU?

The Santa Fe County Bureau of Elections this week received an envelope from the Secretary of State of 104 filled out voter cards from the summer of 2008 that never were processed.

County elections chief Denise Lamb said last night that while many of the people who filled out these forms did manage to get registered by the 2008 general election. But at least 20 of those never showed up on voter rolls. Thus, if they tried to vote, they were denied -- or given a provision ballot that eventually was thrown out because the person wasn't on voter rolls.

That number is likely to rise because Lamb, as of last night, wasn't even halfway through the pile.

SOS spokesman James Flores said he believes most of the forms were duplicates or defective and says they shouldn't have been mailed. Other county clerks received similar packages of 2008 voter cards this week.

Read my story on this HERE.

Roundhouse Roundup: The Other White Meat

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 15, 2010

New Mexico is becoming less swinish, according to a national report released Wednesday.

According to the 2010 Pig Book, published by the Washington, D.C.-based Citizens Against Government Waste, this state no longer is in the Top 10 states in terms of pork — government earmark spending — per capita.

We slipped from No. 6 to No 12.

The Pig Book each year delights in pointing out what it considers outrageous examples of federal pork spending — $2.5 million for potato research in four states, $500,000 for brown tree snake control and interdiction in Guam, $693,000 for beef improvement research in Texas.

But though New Mexico is no stranger to ridicule in the Pig Book in past years, no earmark project made the list in the 2010 book.

However, it's not that all our bacon has turned to tofu. New Mexico still gets $56.97 of federal pork for every man, woman and child in the state, the authors say. That's more than twice the national average of $27.36.

But why did New Mexico slip in terms of pork power?

David Williams, vice president of policy for CAGW, said the major reason is that the state lost longtime U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici — who Williams said was "unabashed about getting pork" — as well as all three incumbent House members in the last election. (Tom Udall last year went from the House to replace the retired Domenici in the Senate.)

"When it comes to pork, it comes down to who's been in Congress longer and who's on the appropriations committees," Williams said in a telephone interview.

He pointed out that Alaska lost Sen. Ted Stevens — notorious for his bacon bringing — in the 2008 election and slipped down three notches in the pork-per-capita rankings from first place to fourth.

"That's one of the biggest problems with pork," Williams said. "The money is not evenly distributed. Is it really fair to a state like New Mexico that you get less money just because you lost members of your congressional delegation?"

Williams said the number of pork projects declined by 10.2 percent, from 10,160 in fiscal year 2009 to 9,129 in this fiscal year, while the total tax dollars spent to fund them decreased by 15.5 percent, from $19.6 billion to $16.5 billion.

Altogether, New Mexico's delegation secured $114,499,540 in federal earmark funds in 2010. The previous year's total was more than $266 million.

"One thing that's happening is that there are diminishing political returns for bringing home the bacon," Williams said. Noting transparency rules that the House implemented last year, Williams said, "There's a lot more sunlight in the system."

Fun with campaign finance reports: Could this be the Republican version of the old Marxist line about capitalists selling the rope that the revolutionaries will use to hang them with?

According to his latest campaign finance report, filed this week, former state Rep. Brian Moore, a Clayton Republican running for lieutenant governor, spent $311 on calling cards printed at Alphagraphics in Albuquerque last October.

Moore confirmed that this is the same Alphagraphics owned and operated by state Sen. Kent Cravens, R-Albuquerque. About a month later, Cravens himself jumped into the lieutenant governor's race.

State Sen. Tim Eichenberg, D-Albuquerque, was among several Democratic senators who endorsed fellow Albuquerque senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino for lieutenant governor, according to a news release last week from Ortiz y Pino's campaign. Eichenberg put his money where his mouth is, contributing $500 to Ortiz y Pino's campaign.

But that's not the only senator to whom Eichenberg contributed. Sen. Linda Lopez, another Albuquerque Democrat running for lieutenant governor, also got $500 from Eichenberg.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Udall Outlines Concerns About Afghanistan

Fresh back from his trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan with a bi-partisan delegation of Congress members, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall on Tuesday told New Mexico reporters that he remains deeply skeptical about President Obama's decision to escalate the war.

"I'm concerned with the reliability of our partner in the region," Udall said at the outset of a teleconference. "It's a tremendous human, military and financial cost of an open-ended commitment. Therefore I remain skeptical of a continued build-up. I'm unconvinced that sending 30,000 more troops into harm's way improves the situation or advances our national security interests."

Udall did a teleconference last week while he was still in Afghanistan. He said at the time that he remained skeptical about the escalation, but said he didn't want to go into detail with his criticisms until he got back on U.S. soil.

Read my story HERE. And to hear a recording of the teleconference, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

R.I.P. Ted Hobbs

Ted Hobbs, former leader of the New Mexico House Republican Caucus, is dead.

The Albuquerque lawmaker was the top Republican in the House when I began covering the Legislature in 2001. He was always accessible, friendly and nearly always had something quotable to say.

The first time I ever interviewed Ted, I was getting Republican reaction to a public campaign financing bill introduced by Democrats. "Public financing of campaigns frankly is an evil idea," he told me.

I was ready for him to say it was a "bad" idea, but when he brought up "evil" -- with a smile on his face, of course -- I knew he was going to be fun to cover.

Ted always wore a necktie with elephants. I'm probably wrong, but don't think I ever saw the same one twice.

I was sorry when he didn't seek re-election to the House. I'm even sorrier now.

The state GOP released the following joint statement this afternoon from Hobbs' successor, Tom Taylor and state Republican Party chairman Harvey Yates Jr.:

“Ted Hobbs was a respected colleague and great example to many of us in the legislature,” stated Taylor. “Although Ted was a passionate Republican, he was always willing to bridge partisan divides to improve the lives of all New Mexicans. On behalf of the entire Republican caucus, I extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

“Former Representative Ted Hobbs was a great advocate for commonsense principles in this state,” commented Yates. “His commitment to his constituents and his leadership in the Roundhouse will be long remembered. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hobbs family during this time.”

During his tenure in New Mexico’s House of Representatives (1994-2006), Hobbs served as the minority whip and minority leader. Prior to his work in the legislature, Hobbs served his country in the United States Army and was employed by IBM for over three decades.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 15, 2010 at French Lomas Blvd. Chapel (10500 Lomas Blvd. NE Albuquerque).

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Campaign Finance Reports

I revamped this entire post so it's not such a patch work

Democratic Governor Candidate

* Lt. Gov. Denish raised $1,114,142 in this reporting period and spent $715,538.69, leaving her with $2,598,632 cash on hand. I'll have a list of her largest contributors in tomorrow's paper.

Republican Governor Candidates

* Susana Martinez's report is up. She's raised $428,064 and spent $194,809, leaving a balance of $363,913.

* The Allen Weh campaign emailed a news release saying Weh had raised $1.29 million. According to his campaign, this is a total for the race --not just this reporting period-- and includes monetary contributions, loans, and, and inkinds. The Associated Press did the math. This period Weh raised $691,000, $500,000 of that from a personal loan. Weh’s campaign has about $544,000 in the bank. (This section was updated at about 6 p.m.)

* Pete Domenici, Jr.'s report just popped up on the SOS site. He reported raising $372,107, of which $70,000 was a loan from himself. Domenici spent $$242,409, leaving a balance of $129,698.

* Nothing yet from Janice Arnold-Jones or Doug Turner, though I ran into Turner, who said he raised about $200,000 in cash and $55,000 in in-kind donations.

Democratic Lieutenant Governor Candidates

Former state party chairman Brian Colon reported raising $156,489. He reported spending $201,651, which leaves him $205,886. His biggest contributors were his Albuquerque law firm Robles, Rael & Anaya, which gave him $11,879, and L&F Distributors of McAllen, Texas, which contributed $10,000.

Lawrence Rael's report is in. He $162,175, of which $105,000 are personal loans. Rael spent $162, 175, leaving $126,195 in cash on hand.

Nothing yet from Joe Campos, Jerry Ortiz y Pino or Linda Lopez

Republican Lieutenant Governor Candidates

* John Sanchez's report is in. He seems to be running a self-financed campaign. Sanchez reported raising $279,300. But $273,800 is from a series of personal loans. In addition to the loans, $2,500 of the $5,500 in monetary contributions was from Sanchez himself. And his Albuquerque roofing company gave an in-kind contribution of $6,735. Sanchez spent $23,018 leaving a balance of $256,281.

* Brian Moore's report has yet to show up on the Web site, but Moore e-mailed a spreadsheet to reporters. He raised $139,840, $100,000 of which was a personal loan to himself. Moore spent $14,231, leaving his treasury $129, 535.

* Kent Cravens has raised $57,990 and spent $34,583.

* J.R. Damron, a Santa Fe doctor who has dropped out of the race raised $24,975 and spent $24,451 -- some of which was in the form of partial campaign contributions.

Late Monday afternoon the Secretary of State's Office released this statement:

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office will extend today’s 5:00 PM deadline for candidates to file their reports. The agency will be working prolonged hours today and this evening in an effort to respond to all requests from candidates for assistance with the new campaign finance reporting system.

Richardson Raises $11,800 for Governor Campaign

True, he's not running, but Gov. Bill Richardson just filed a campaign finance report.
Of the $11,800, $11,565 was from the Democratic Governor's Association for renting one of Richardson's lists. The rest was all interest from various bank accounts -- except one $50 from Myriam DePelichy, an Illinois resident.

The committee spent more than $64,000. Among the expenditures were political contributions to Santa Fe Mayor David Coss ($1,000), U.S. Sen. Harry Reid ($1,000), and the state Democratic Party ($5,000). He also paid Virginia pollster Stephen Clermont $6,4000 in October.

The Richardson campaign still has more than $63,000 in the bank.

Campaign Finance Reports Trickling In

Actually, "trickling" might be an exaggeration. The waters seem pretty stagnant.

At this writing, no gubernatorial candidates have reports up on the new Secretary of State site -- though Democrat Diane Denish issued a press release saying she raised more than a million dollars between October and April.

The same two lieutenant governor reports are still there, with no new ones appearing.

Secretary of State Mary Herrera told reporters this morning that many candidates will wait until the last moment to submit.

There also was this troubling prediction (from an SOS news release):

... the first reporting period takes into account a grace period for the ethics administration to ensure all reports submitted are properly incorporated and may “take a few extra days” to have all data compiled for public view, for this report date, said Bureau of Election Director Don Francisco Trujillo II. And some “glitches” are expected in the first period.

I'll update when things start to move.
Diane Denish Online Town Hall
As for Denish, according to her news release she raised $1,114,142 in this reporting period and spent $715,538.69, leaving her with $2,598,632 cash on hand.

Team Denish pointed out that she did not raise money during the 30-day legislative session or the following 20-day bill-signing period.

I haven't seen the actual report yet, so I can't yet report who the major contributors.

Denish voluntarily reported on her fund-raising in mid January . At that time she reported raising about $750,000 in the previous three months. Those numbers are included in the current report.

Heather Wilson Being Treated for Thyroid Cancer

Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson released the following statement:

Manuel Lujan, Jr. & Heather Wilson
“I am being treated for papillary thyroid cancer. This is the most common type of thyroid cancer and has a cure rate of more than 90%. I expect to recover fully.”

The thyroid gland is in the neck just below the Adam’s apple. It produces a hormone that regulates metabolism. Wilson’s thyroid has not functioned since having thyroiditis fourteen years ago.

The treatment for papillary thyroid cancer is surgical removal of the thyroid gland followed several weeks later by a dose of radioactive iodine to kill any remaining thyroid cells. Side effects or complications are rare. Wilson’s surgery and follow up care will be performed in Albuquerque.

Nodules in Wilson’s thyroid were discovered by her doctor during a routine examination. A follow-up biopsy confirmed the diagnosis in mid-March.

About 37,000 people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year in the United States.

It's Campaign Finance Report Filing Day ...

And the Secretary of State has a new campaign finance report Web site.

As with any launch of any new systems there's bound to be bugs. I sure hope I'm wrong.

Checking shortly before 9 a.m., none of the gubernatorial candidates had filed.

As for lieutenant governor, Republicans Kent Cravens and J.R. Damron (who has dropped out of the race) win the early bird prize.

Cravens, a state senator from Albuquerque, has raised $57,990 and spent $34,583.

Damron, a Santa Fe doctor,$24,975 and spent $24,451 -- some of which was in the form of partial campaign contributions.

More of these will be coming in throughout the day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Udall In Afghanistan

REP. TOM UDALL I just got off a conference call with Sen. Tom Udall who is on a trip to Afghanistan with a delegation of Congress members.

He said he and the others have met with a number of officials over there including Afghan President Karzai and General Stanley McChrystal.

Karzai, the senator says, denies he threatened to join the Taliban if he was pressured by his foreign backers.

Udall also said he remains skeptical about the war effort in Afghanistan but declined to talk in detail about his doubts until he returns home next week.

Of Karzai's alleged Taliban statement, Udall said, "He said his remark was misconstrued," Udall said. "I take him at his word."

Udall said the main thrust of the meeting with Karzai, Udall said was to stress the need for Karzai to "get rid of corruption" and to appoint competent people to government posts. In Afghanistan the president has the power to appoint officials all the way down to local levels.

He also said Karzai should address the American people, perhaps in the form of an in-depth interview with an American journalist, to talk about the partnership between the two countries.

Udall said the delegation met with several American military members, including two military security men aboard a plane who had been stationed at Holloman Air Base near Alamogordo. He also met with a Sgt. Reyes, helping with an agricultural project in Afghanistan, who has family in this state. These men all received gifts of pinon-flavored coffee and red and green chile jerky.

In Udall's delegation are Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev.; Scott Brown, R-Mass.; and Tom Carper, D-Del.; as well as Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va.

Udall said he's heading home on Sunday.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


According to the Associated Press, a Gallup jury found Public Regulation Commissioner Carol Sloan guilty of two felonies -- aggravated battery and aggravated burglary.

It'll take more than a couple of felony convictions to get her off the PRC though. According to the wire service, She can serve out her current term unless she is impeached." State law doesn't allow anyone convicted of a felony to be elected to public office.

Sloan had filed for re-election but faces four Democratic primary opponents, including Santa Fe homeless advocate Hank Hughes; Theresa Becenti-Aguilar; George James Galanis; and Albuquerque accountant Andrew Leo Lopez. The winner of the primary will run against Republican Gary Montoya.

The jury found that Sloan on July 14 attacked a woman named Brenda Yazzie, with a rock after accusing Yazzie of having an affair with her husband. The commissioner testified this week during her trial that she'd never hit Yazzie with a rock.

UPDATE: The State Republican Party Chairman Harvey Yates just called upon Sloan to resign:

“Commissioner Sloan received her day in court and was convicted of two felonies. Out of respect for the office she holds and the constituents she was elected to serve, Carol Sloan should resign immediately.

“Unfortunately, New Mexicans have grown accustomed to learning that too many of our state's Democrat leaders conduct themselves in a manner which tarnishes the state’s reputation and undermines their ability to lead. Today’s conviction offers yet another reminder that it is time to eliminate the single-party control under which this state has operated for too long.”

Another UPDATE: State Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales also called for Sloan to resign.

"I have called for Ms. Sloan's immediate resignation from the PRC. Ms. Sloan's actions are appalling, unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Democrats or anyone else in New Mexico. The Democratic Party of New Mexico expects all elected officials to abide by a higher standard and work to move our state forward."

Yet Another UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who is running for governor, joined in the call for Sloan's resignation.

"Public office is a public trust and Ms. Sloan has violated that trust," Denish said. "Therefore, I call on her to immediately resign her seat on the Public Regulation Commission."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Roundhouse Roundup: Taking Sides in a Primary?

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
April 8, 2010

The Santa Fe Democrat challenging state House Speaker Ben Luján for his seat says the state Democratic Party seems to be choosing sides in the June primary.

Carl Trujillo said Wednesday that he wanted to purchase a database called Vote Builder. It contains not only names, addresses and other information on voter registration forms, but also voter histories and tools needed to build canvassing zones for campaigns.

At first, Trujillo said, party leaders said he could get access to the database for $500. But when a campaign staffer drove to Albuquerque with a check, he was told the party had an “anti-incumbent policy” that forbids giving the database to those challenging Democratic incumbents.

Party spokesman James Hallinan on Wednesday confirmed that the party did not provide Trujillo with the software needed to access Vote Builder. He said Trujillo, “just like any candidate, Democrat or Republican,” can get voter lists from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Trujillo, however, said the lists at the Secretary of State’s Office don’t have all the information that comes with Vote Builder, such as voter history.

I asked Hallinan whether any other Democratic candidate had been denied Vote Builder. He said he wasn’t aware of any others. Asked whether the party would sell the Luján campaign the database, he said, “That’s a hypothetical. I’m not going to answer that.”

The rules of the state Democratic Party, as posted on its Web site, say the party chairman must “refrain from using his/her office to advance the cause of any individual candidate, including himself/herself, for office in the Democratic Primary Election.”

Hallinan denied that withholding the database from Trujillo was tantamount to advancing Luján’s cause.

“The software belongs to the (Democratic National Committee) and the state party has the right to decide who we give it to,” he said.

Bill vs. Brown: Since early last year when he had to back out of that Cabinet appointment because of an embarrassing grand jury investigation, Gov. Bill Richardson has generally been laying low as far as national politics go.

So it was surprising when he showed up a couple of weeks ago as the author of a fundraising letter from the Democratic Governors Association (a group he used to head.)

“Imagine a Scott Brown running 37 states,” the governor’s letter said, referring to the Republican senator from Massachusetts who won a surprise special-election victory in that deep blue state earlier this year. “With a historic 37 governorships up for election in 2010, the GOP has crafted a scheme to win statehouses and put a Scott Brown in each of these states to gerrymander their party back into power.”

Richardson continued in the letter: “As Chair of the DGA in 2005 and 2006, I witnessed the extremes the Republican Party will go to — violating the truth and using down-and-dirty campaign tactics to win gubernatorial elections. But now the stakes are even higher.”

“You see, governors have the power to influence the redrawing of congressional and state legislative districts. And the Republican Party has a blueprint to manipulate this process to their electoral advantage, courtesy of Tom DeLay and Karl Rove,” the letter says. “We can’t let them get away with it.”

Mike Madden in a article this week poked some fun at the governor’s letter. “Tom DeLay! Karl Rove! The boogeymen of the last 10 years were back, front and center and still up to no good.”

Madden, who pointed out that both parties are using the Census and the fear that the other party will rule redistricting, said, “Redistricting fights in 2011 provide for good fundraising pitches in 2010. And the committees are, to some extent, just using the Census as yet another talking point to suck in cash. If you listened to Richardson and gave the DGA $25, for instance, there would be no guarantee it would wind up being spent in a state where the Census results are likely to change the makeup of the House for the next decade; the DGA doesn’t earmark its funds for any particular race.”

Two Americas: Madden quoted Richardson asking for contributions of $25 or more. However, in the e-mail I received on March 23, Richardson said, “Please contribute $10 or more to the DGA today.” I guess I’m on the mailing list for cheapskates.

The Boogeyman cometh: As devoted readers of this blog know, one of the chief villains of Richardson’s letter is coming to New Mexico. No, not Scott Brown, but Karl Rove, who will be in Albuquerque on May 1 for a state Republican Party fundraiser at the Albuquerque Hilton Hotel. It’ll cost you $100 to go a reception and get a copy of Rove’s book Courage and Consequence. For $250, you get into a VIP reception and get an autographed copy of Rove’s book.

UPDATE: 12:10 a.m. Thursday -- About an hour ago, state Democratic spokesman James Hallinan e-mailed me a section of the swap agreement between the state and national party for the Vote Builder voter file, which appears to verify the party's right to withhold the data base from those challenging incumbents. It reads:

"State Party shall provide all information in the State Party Voter file to all bona fide Democratic candidates for federal, state, and local office in the state for both primary and general elections except that State Party shall not obligated to provide such information to candidates in a Democratic primary in which there is a Democratic incumbent running for office."

Gender Discrimination in AG's Office?

That's what three female attorneys claim.

A spokesman for Attorney General Gary King denies it.

My story about it is in today's paper. CLICK HERE

Here's a copy of the complaint, filed in federal court:

Gender Discrimination Suit, NM AG

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Latest Political Commercials

Political ad season is just starting on the TV waves. In recent days Republican gubernatorial candidates Susana Martinez and Allen Weh have new spots on the tube.

Both are "positive" ads that build up their respective candidate instead of tearing anyone down.

Martinez's, which was released today, paints her as a corruption fighter.

Weh's paints him as a war hero.

Have a gander at both.

Rove to Speak to GOP in Albuquerque

Some call him "Bush's Brain." Some call him "The Architect." I know of one guy who called him "Turdblossom." (He meant it in the nicest possible way.)

Whatever you call him, Karl Rove will be in Albuquerque Saturday, May 1st at the Albuquerque Hilton Hotel for a Republican fundraiser.

Rove was George W. Bush's political director. He's now a commentator on Fox News.

Everyone knows he has friends in New Mexico.

$100 will get you into a 6:45 pm reception and copy of Rove's book Courage and Consequence.

$250 gets you into a 6 pm VIP Reception and a signed copy of Rove's book.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Richardson Among Governors Who Get Threatening Letter

Gov. Bill Richardson is among the 30-plus governors to receive a letter from the Guardians of the Free Republics, an anti-government group saying the governors will be removed from office if they don’t voluntarily leave office within three days.

Peter Olson, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety confirmed the letter. He said Richardson’s security detail is aware of the letter and "have taken precautions to assure his well being."

He declined to be specific about what additional security steps have been taken.

According to the Associated Press, "Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group's message, but fear the broad call for removal of top state officials could lead others to act out violently."

According to the Guardians' Web site, the group advocates a "Restore America Plan," which they call "a bold achievable strategy for behind-the-scenes peaceful reconstruction of the de jure institutions of government without controversy, violence or civil war."

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the leader of the Guardians is a radio talk show host Sam Kennedy of Round Rock, Texas.