Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Roundhouse Roundup: Dueling IPRA Requests

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
September 16, 2010

The bad blood continues between Mary Herrera and some county clerks across the state. Last week some county clerks complained on KOB News about Herrera getting $10,000 from the state to hire temporary “liaisons” at various “problematic” areas statewide.

“Liaisons are a direct line of communication between the polling locations and the Secretary of State's Office, who by statute is the Chief Election Officer of the state responsible for efficient elections,” said a SOS news release last week.

But some county clerks bristled at being called “problematic” — a word that Deputy Secretary of State Don Francisco Trujillo said was used by some staffer at a legislative committee, not the Secretary of State’s office.

And some clerks complained that the liaisons didn’t seem to know what they were doing and, at least in one case, didn’t seem to be around until after the polls closed.

Whoever said, Deputy Santa Fe County Clerk Denise Lamb responded Monday with a public information request under the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) to the SOS. Some of the items she asked for included the names of all “liaisons,” their resumes, the “dates, times and duration” of the training for all liaisons and temporary workers employed by the SOS in the primary and the “familial relationship” of any liaison or temporary worker to any SOS staff member.

Lamb also requested all correspondence related to the hiring of these folks and all of the communications from the liaisons on primary day.

Herrera herself answered within just a few hours. She said her office would comply with the request. But then she added, “This is a good idea for the office of the Secretary of State to obtain in the files of all the staff hired by your office as well, who we do I send the IPRA request to?”

Lamb quickly shot back: “Mary, We don't hire any ‘liaisons’ to monitor your conduct of the election.” She said any request for public information should go to the county attorney.

Herrera started the IPRA Wars last month when she made a public information request for correspondence involving some of her staff past and present and her critics.

The Out-of-Staters: Earlier this week Diane Denish’s gubernatorial campaign blasted Republican candidate Susana Martinez for getting 52 percent of her campaign contributions from out-of-state supporters, according to her latest campaign finance report.

Nearly a quarter of Martinez’s total in the most recent report came from the Republican Governor’s Association, based in Washington, D.C. She also received several five or six-figure contributions from out-of-state sources, including some big GOP moneymen.

Denish, who raised less than half of what Martinez did since late June, received a few big contributions from outside of New Mexico herself, mainly from unions. She’s saying that about two thirds of the cash in her latest report came from New Mexico.

The Institute of Money in State Government’s website, has not yet included this week’s reports in their totals. But as of the previous campaign finance reports submitted in early July, 63 percent of Martinez’s money had come from New Mexico and almost 37 percent had come from out-of-state. Denish’s figure was about 67 percent in-state, 32 percent from out of state.

But even if Martinez eventually does end up with about half her campaign funds coming from outside of New Mexico, she wouldn’t be the first.

According to, in 2006 less than 51 percent of Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign funds definitely came from New Mexico. Nearly 48 percent was from out of state, while the place of origin of 1.7 percent of Richardson’s money couldn’t be determined.

The real question is why New Mexico gubernatorial get so much money from elsewhere. In Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma, all gubernatorial candidates, both Democratic and Republican, according to, all are getting more than 90 percent of their campaign cash from inside their respective states.