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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Following The Money: Susana And The Republican Governors Association; How Close Is Too Close? New Ground Covered, Plus: Fact Checking The New APD Chief, And: Like Father, Like Son; Domenici Son Runs For Office 

We're following the money today. Along with our readers we continue to probe for any political and financial connections possibly involved in the Martinez administration's controversial decision last year to freeze Medicaid funding for 15 behavioral health providers and replace them with Arizona firms. Here's what we're learning. . . .

The background--Public Consulting Group-- (PCG) was the Boston-based auditing firm hired by the administration to audit the mental health providers. Their audit was instrumental in the administration's decision to suspend payments to the providers and to bring in firms from Arizona to take over.

News recently broke about how a fund-raiser for then-candidate Susana Martinez discussed a campaign contribution with ABQ Downs racino owner William Wyndham and how the contribution would be run through the Republican Governors Association (RGA). That  conversation was in preparation for Windham's Sept. 27, 2010 meeting with Martinez to discuss the expiring racino lease. Windham made a $25,000 contribution to the RGA on Oct. 7, 2010. Windham now says the contribution was for the RGA--not Martinez's campaign. But campaign memos and financial records do not point in that direction. The administration ultimately awarded the Downs a 25 year lease.

The FBI has gathered evidence on the handling of the ABQ Downs racino lease. The status of their investigation is unknown. 

Now we learn that Tony McLean Brown, Director of Mergers and Acquisitions at PCG, the audit firm, contributed $100,000 to the RGA on October 11, 2010, four days after Windham made his donation.

The record of that donation is listed here on the RGA's IRS Form 8872 that "nonprofits" such as the RGA are required to occasionally file.

On Oct. 14, 2010, three days after the Brown contribution, the RGA transferred $160,000 to the RGA New Mexico 2010 PAC for use here. Then--on the very same day--the RGA New Mexico 2010 PAC passed along $170,000 to the Republican Party of New Mexico. The Secretary of State's record of that contribution is here.

Tony Brown also gave around $87,000 directly to the RGA MI PAC 2010. PCG also has business interests in Michigan.

The attorney general's office now says the PCG audit mistakenly flagged Medicaid claims made by an Alamogordo health care provider that had their funding suspended. The AG's findings raises the question of whether the audit that caused the shuttering of all the providers was accurate.

RGA was by far Martinez's largest contributor to her 2010 campaign. She reported raising $7.4 million of which over $1.3 million came from the RGA.

The questions raised here include how much of that money was donated by persons wishing to do business with the state and ended up doing business? And were campaign contributions run through the RGA as a means of keeping secret the identities of those making contributions and planning to do business with the new administration?

OBAMA LUV FOR SUSANA

How about those words of praise from President Obama for Susana? The Prez praised her for acting in a bipartisan matter by supporting increased funding for early childhood programs. Obama's White House remarks came Monday when he hosted the National Governors Association. Susana has to be happy with the praise as she is courting Dem votes to secure her re-election, even if it might raise some Republican eyebrows. We know five folks who are surely hopping mad at the President--those would be the five Dem hopefuls who are vying for the June Dem Guv nomination.

(Hey, Susana, if you support that constitutional amendment to use Permanent Fund money to fund early childhood programs, next time the Prez will give you a hug. So go for it. Call John Arthur Smith ASAP).

Here's the video of Obama giving luv to Susana, along with a number of other Guvs.

COP SHOP

Eden
We wondered here about comments made by new ABQ police chief Gorden Eden asserting that there has been a nationwide increase in attacks on police officers and that could be a possible reason for the big increase in police shootings here. We said we did not have the statistics to question Eden, but thanks to our readers we do now. The new chief may want to take a look.

Reader Alan Wagman comes with this from the Los Angeles Times:

According to a preliminary report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund , 111 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2013, the lowest number since 1959. Most of the deaths came in traffic accidents, said the nonprofit, which tracks law enforcement deaths and maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington. The most dramatic number in the report may be the 33 officers killed by gunfire, the lowest number since 1887, when the country's population was more than four times smaller than it is today.

And the intrepid Dan Klein, a retired APD Seargent who contributes often here about APD happenings, comes with the latest FBI statistics on officer assaults.

In 2011 there were 54,774 officers assaulted and 53 officers accidentally killed. 72 officers were murdered in the line of duty. In 2012, 52,901 officers were assaulted, 47 officers accidentally killed and 48 officers murdered

Joe, The FBI has not released 2013 data yet. You can bend statistics any way you want but here is what I see: In 2010, 57,268 officers were assaulted. In 2012, 52,901 assaults were reported. That's a decrease of 7%. In 2011, the number of officers murdered jumped dramatically, then went back down in 2012.

Thanks Alan and Dan.

No doubt Chief Eden is trying to build credibility with his officers before officially taking over, but it doesn't do much good risking your own credibility in going about that task.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Adam Paul Laxalt
It's like father, like son for Republican Adam Paul Laxalt. The now not so secret son of former NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici has launched a bid for the Nevada attorney general's office. It was a shocker last year when it was revealed that Laxalt, 34, was fathered by Domenici who kept the affair quiet. Laxalt's mother, Michelle Laxalt, is the daughter of former Nevada Senator and Governor Paul Laxalt who is now 91. Adam Laxalt grew up with his mother Michelle in Washington DC. She was a lobbyist.

 Like his father, Adam starts his first statewide race as the decided underdog. Pete Domenici ran for NM Governor in 1970.  He lost to Bruce King but was elected to the Senate two years later. Another Domenici son--Pete Domenici, Jr.--sought the 2010 NM GOP Guv nomination. . . .

Retirements from the state House have been coming fast and furious. Today's entrant is four term Rep. Bill Gray, a Republican from Artesia with ties to the oil industry. The district is safe R and will not be a battleground for the fight for control of the House in November. Insiders expect an R or two with ties to the energy industry to seek the seat.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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