Tuesday, June 04, 2013

More From Susana On Downs Dealing; She's Now "Certain" FBI Is Not Interested; Explains Away Goff Statements To Feds; We Dissect The Spin, Plus: Where's Sam As Susana Sways?  

If there was a confirmed federal investigation of the awarding of the controversial racino lease for the Downs, it could release the animal spirits of a number of potential 2014 Dem Guv candidates. Perhaps that's one of the reason Governor Martinez remains so insistent that there is no such investigation.

Asked by  The AP about the weekend revelation from her ex-finance chair Andrea Goff that she had been questioned by the FBI about the ABQ Downs, Martinez quickly went into spin mode. She said she was sure Goff was being asked questions about the Downs because her former campaign manager, Jamie Estrada, who has been indicted by the Feds for hacking into her campaign email account, will use the allegations about the lease as part of his defense.

"Absolutely, I am confident that this is all involving Jamie Estrada and the hijacking of my email," Said Martinez.

For her part Goff's weekend statement said "none" of the questions she was asked by the FBI related to the email hacking or Estrada. (The ABQ Journal came with its take on the Goff statement and any Downs investigation in this Tuesday piece.)


There seems to be near terror in the Martinez camp over the speculation over the matter. The stiff gubernatorial reactions and the overreach of Martinez operatives against critics on social media has one of our Dem Alligators asessing the performance of political consultant Jay McCleskey, who basically runs the Governor's show.

McCleskey has had little if any experience handling the campaign of an incumbent. And no experience running a government. It's showing in how this Downs deal has been unfolding. Their attacks, based apparently on their fear and worry, are bringing this issue way more attention than it should have. They need to restore emotional control. This should never have reached the Governor's level. If there isn't an investigation this Nervous Nellie act going on may cause one.

Political consultants are good at running campaigns, but running the government? Well, that's different.


The problem with Martinez's spin on Goff is that the Santa Fe Reporter said several other of the Guv's ex-campaign staffers, besides Goff, say they were also interviewed about the Downs. Like Goff, they say it was not about the email hacking that the administration wants everyone to focus on.

And remember, the SFR also said the ex-staffers reported the FBI asked about "consulting payments" made to McCleskey. Does that also relate to Estrada's future defense?

And then there was Goff's weekend statement that is still a problem for Martinez. Goff said she was interviewed about the Downs and "various activities." Were all those other activities she was asked about also in relation to the email hacking case and Estrada's expected defense?

There is enough there to guarantee one thing--Much of the Martinez inner circle is going to be watching their backs for the indefinite future and working furiously to convince the media that the FBI is happy as a lark about the Downs deal and so should they.


KRQE-TV has revised their erroneous Sunday news report on Andrea Goff. They no longer say she "claims" to have worked for Martinez, a bizarre statement given that Goff has been raising money for top tier GOP candidates for more than a decade and chaired the Guv's 2010 inaugural committee. And the station is also now calling her the Governor's "former finance director." They earlier reported that a consultant for Martinez (Hi, Jay) demoted Goff to "consultant."

So, were the sources who helped KRQE make those errors the same ones who are telling them with absolute certainty that none of those recently interviewed by the FBI were asked any questions other than those relating to the email investigation? Maybe one of their sources is the Governor. The AP
describes her as "certain" there is only the email hacking investigation, not a Downs probe. Who leaked her that "certain" information? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Whatever the outcome of the KRQE news sourcing or any Downs probe, the job they did Sunday night on Goff reinforces the view that the newsroom is either politically contaminated as we examined on Friday's blog, or folks there are just too damn tired and worn out. Or both.

And we know the latest murder meter count is of tantamount importance to TV news, but could someone do a story on why these sources believe the FBI is so not interested in looking at the Downs deal?


A reader (A Democrat) writes of Andrea Goff and the Downs deal featuring a controversial 25 year racino lease:

It's the biggest story of the year on Susana's ethics issues and where's NM Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bregman? How come he's not on every TV station, every blog, every paper ripping Susana? After all, that's what he promised...

There was bad news for Bregman and the Dems Monday. One of the D's political consultants, Jason Loera, formerly of ABQ and now in L.A. was charged with possessing child porn.

Loera was paid as a consultant in 2012 by Grassroots New Mexico, a political action committee with ties to Albuquerque lawyer Sam Bregman, who became state Democratic Party chairman this year.Bregman didn't immediately return a telephone message and email seeking comment.

Republicans were speculating on Twitter Monday night that the Loera indictment may have come about as a result of the FBI investigation into the hacked campaign email account of Governor Martinez.

Loera has done political work for northern Dem Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. His office had this reaction:

We are shocked to hear about the indictment,These are very serious charges and they deserve to be fully addressed through the legal system.

Bregman has yet to comment but he is already getting beat up by the R's because he is a criminal defense attorney who has defended Dem politicians accused of corruption.

Interesting sidebar: Loera's computer was apparently examined in the final days of 2012--as part of the FBI's email hacking case into Martinez's campaign account.


The conservative Weekly Standard with deep ties to the Republican Party (and we're guessing Governor Martinez's political operatives) joins the anonymous source party on the email hacking case. The paper wonders if former Martinez campaign aide Jamie Estrada will be the only one indicted in connection with the hacking of the Guv's campaign email account:

Sources from the New Mexico GOP suggest more indictments may follow, particularly if the federal investigation reveals more information about the people to whom Estrada provided the illegally acquired emails.

Hmm. How do those Republican partisans know what is going on in the US Attorneys' office?

The Weekly Standard does not mention any possible probe of allegations of bid-rigging for the lucrative lease at the ABQ Downs. Those allegations were given more legs from the contents of the hacked emails.

And who wants that nasty business making the rounds on Capitol Hill when Martinez and her political arm are about to throw a big fund-raising reception tomorrow night featuring a bunch of national political players. Martinez's ex fund-raiser--Andrea Goff--rained on that parade (was her timing intentional?) when she came forth over the weekend to say she was interviewed by the FBI about the ABQ Downs racino.

Whether there are more indictments in the email case will be interesting, but this Downs deal is going to simmer--and maybe some day boil over--just like the email case.


The video link in which Governor Martinez reacts to the news that Andrea Goff says she was interviewed by the FBI about activity at the ABQ Downs, was not working for part of Monday morning. If you missed it is here and on the Monday blog.

We talked politics recently with longtime newsman Arthur Alpert. He's  still pounding out copy and making waves. You can find him at ABQ Journal Watch. And another longtime New Mexico newsman--Wally Gordon--can now be read at NM Mercury.

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