Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Politically Connected Loom In Search For Investment Chief, Plus: Turner Guv Bid In Six Cities, And: Woman Made Widow By Cookie Bandit May Seek Office 

What do all of the persons chosen by Big Bill to seek a new State Investment Officer have in common? According to records we checked, all donated--most at least $2,300 each--to the Guv's ill-fated presidential campaign. Even after scandalous headlines that forced the resignation of investment officer Gary Bland, getting the politics out--completely out--of the investment of our state's multi-billion dollar permanent funds is going to be a challenge.

The search committee members chosen by the Guv seem like a competent bunch. Certainly, Doug Brown, who will head the search is a well-respected finance man, who is currently Dean of the University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management. And the rest of the committee is well-credentialed and respected in their respective fields.

But we are dealing with this:

New Mexico’s chief investment officer resigned after the state was drawn into a nationwide investigation of the fees paid to politically connected agents by those seeking to win investment-management work.

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons, a member of the investment council, said the Paul Hastings law firm of Los Angeles collected information that Bland pressured money managers doing business with the state to hire certain middlemen. The investment council hired Hastings to help it respond to a joint investigation by the SEC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Marc Correra, the son of a political supporter of Richardson, shared in more than $16 million, about half of fees paid to middlemen for New Mexico investments. Correra’s father, Anthony, served on the board of political action committee Richardson set up to register Hispanic and American Indian voters.

So can't we have at least some members on the search committee for a new investment officer who are apolitical--who haven't given any campaign donations to anyone and are simply competent businessmen and women, or is that an extinct species?

We did not find any presidential campaign donations to Big Bill from Bob Jacksha, who currently serves as Chief Investment Officer for the Education Retirement Board, and who has been picked to serve as interim State Investment Officer during the search. We haven't checked whether Jacksha gave to the Guv's state campaigns or PAC's.

Here are the investment officer search committee members. Click on their names to see their donations.

Secretary of the state Department of Finance Administration Katherine Miller ($2,300); Andrew Davis, a portfolio manager with Davis Advisors; Stephen L. Feinberg, Chairman and CEO of Dorsar Investment Company and corporate director for continental Transmission Corporation; and Peter Frank, who retired as Executive Vice President and chief Financial Officer from Daymon Worldwide Inc. and Doug Brown who is leading the committee.

Doug Turner
ABQ PR executive Doug Turner will clock some serious air miles today as he embarks on a six city tour to make a formal announcement of his 2010 candidacy for the GOP Guv nomination. (Hasn't he done that already?) He'll start in Cruces, then head to Roswell, Clovis, Farmington and Taos. He'll end the day with a public reception in ABQ at 7 p.m. at the Sunrise Bank Building at 3rd and Central Avenue. The candidate is now also up on Facebook, somewhat de riguer for any serious politico.

Turner, 40, recently kick-started his campaign with a loan of $243,000 and in-kind contributions mainly from his PR company of $86,000, but his problem is not necessarily money; it's whether an increasingly conservative state GOP has room for a moderate candidacy such as his.

As Turner prepared to go formal today, his old boss, former two-term GOP NM Governor Gary Johnson, was also announcing political plans of a sort. He said he will soon launch a Web site to discuss "the issues of the day." Also, a group of Libertarians is working to persuade Johnson, 56, to run for president in 2012. Turner managed one of Johnson's successful Guv campaigns. Looks like he is back sharing space with the boss, whether intended or not.

Tonia Harris
There could be an interesting and maybe even controversial state House race shaping up in Rio Rancho. The question is can the widow of a sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty secure the GOP nomination and then go on to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Jack Thomas?

Rio Rancho teacher Tonia Harris
, the widow of Sandoval County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Joe Harris, who lost his life in the line of duty earlier this year, is weighing a bid for the GOP nod for the state House seat held by Democrat Jack Thomas who won it in 2008.

Harris was gunned down by "Cookie Bandit" Joseph Burgess in an incident at Jemez Springs in July.

Tonia Harris says of her late husband:

Joe always believed that it was important to get involved in our community and stand up for what we believe in. I am concerned about the direction of our state and have been encouraged by friends, family and neighbors to consider doing something about it by running for the legislature.

Harris is a native New Mexican from Roswell. She is on leave as a literacy specialist at Enchanted Hills Elementary School in Rio Rancho. She is expected to formally announce in January.

Thomas is a popular former Sandoval County Commissioner. The district is evenly divided between Dems and R's, making it one of the few swing districts in the state.


We aren't holding our breath for anything to come of it, but Big Bill's meeting this month with GE Chairman and CEO in Connecticut does put those 400 ABQ GE jobs we are slated to lose next year in front of Jeff Immelt. New Mexico has enjoyed a long relationship with GE. The Guv proposed that the blue chip company, which announced it is closing its jet engine manufacturing facility in SE ABQ in July, build windmills and solar equipment--instead of shutting up shop.

We received several e-mails when GE announced the closing. Several of them, including one from New Mexico Magazine associate publisher Jon Bowman, told of how their dads had started working at the plant in the 60's and made a living good enough to put their kids through college. These are the type of manufacturing jobs that we are going to sorely miss because of the Great Recession,. Perhaps Bill can get CEO Jeff to visit here so he can be lobbied more vigorously. Maybe take him for a horseback ride and ply him with green chile, margaritas and mariachi music.


State R's are sending out periodic updates on their candidates for Guv and the three congressional seats. Here they are.


A reader who calls himself "The Valencia Observer," has an interesting take on how the battle for the 2010 Dem nomination for lieutenant governor is breaking down in that central NM county:

Brian Colon is a Los Lunas High School grad raised in Bosque Farms. He seemed to have the inside track in the race here. However, Lawrence Rael has decided to compete and has landed some useful support. Julian Luna, state racing commission executive director, has begun to actively campaign for Lawrence. One would think that it wouldn’t make sense for Luna to get involved since he might be on the ballot himself in June 2010 if he goes through with a primary challenge against State Representative Elias Barela...However, Arnold Rael, chairman of the Racing Commission and Luna’s long-time boss, is Lawrence Rael’s cousin.

Sounds like hand-to-hand combat out there.


We talked Tuesday about the behind-the-scenes action as the Bernalillo County Commission considers a replacement for Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White who is resigning to become ABQ's public safety director. And we continued the discussion with KOB-TV's Antoinette Antonio.

We omitted the link yesterday to the obituary of the mother of attorney David Campbell who has been nominated by Mayor-elect Berry to become ABQ's chief administrative officer.

This is the home of New Mexico politics. Email your news and comments.

Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign