Thursday, May 09, 2013

More On The Connections Of La Politica In Campaign Money Lawsuit, Plus: Comfy Legislative Retirement Plan Resurfaces, And: Persona Non Pete; Domenici Snubbed in DC 

Democratic reader Theresa Trujeque thinks it was irresponsible for a Senior Alligator on Tuesday to call into question the allegiances of Dem House Speaker Kenny Martinez because his longtime friend and ex-legislative colleague Al Park is associating himself with GOP lobbyist/lawyer Mickey Barnett.

Democrat Park and Barnett's law firm are the attorneys for several contractors seeking to overturn ABQ's ban on campaign contributions from businesses that have contracts with city government. Lifting the ban--which Mayor Berry has been accused of violating--would help the GOP Mayor who decided against taking public financing for his campaign and is raising money privately. Here's Trujeque:

Joe, Your Senior Alligator should have facts to support the statement made before throwing stones at our Democratic leadership. Trying to connect the Speaker to the Martinez administration because he and Al Park are "friends" is not a responsible thing to do unless you have facts to support that allegation. So far, I have not seen or heard of any such facts. I have Republican friends but does that mean that I support Governor Martinez or any of her policies? Of course not. As a Hispanic woman, I think she is a big disappointment. I am surprised that you would even print such a thing. I believe that Al Park selling himself out to the Republicans is his own doing and does not involve the Speaker. 

Thanks for the thoughts, Theresa.

When a controversial corporate income tax cut is jammed through in the final seconds of a legislative session, deeply dividing the Democratic Party and was done with no debate, there is going to be plenty of speculating on how public policy is formulated in this state and the motives of the political players. These political relationships are fair game because they potentially impact all of us.

For example, we and others have noted in the past that Speaker Martinez served as the godfather to the son of then-GOP State Rep. Dan Foley and speculated how that friendship could impact public policy. Speaking of which....


Will this news inhibit ex-Roswell GOP State Rep. Dan Foley from bashing public employees and the retirement plans that cover them? From the AP:

Voters booted Republican Dan Foley from office after a decade in the New Mexico Legislature, and within months he began collecting taxpayer-financed pension benefits--even though he was only 39 years old. By the time he turns 67 and qualifies for full Social Security benefits, Foley will have received nearly $450,000 in pension payments in exchange for the $5,000 he contributed to the plan while serving in the state House..New Mexico's unique and generous legislative retirement program has raised questions as lawmakers have trimmed pension benefits for some government workers, yet resisted scaling back their own program....Foley's yearly pension benefits are $13,254 currently.

Of course, the voters in Roswell who threw Foley out of office might joke that it was worth at least $450,000 to rid themselves of the once hyper-controversial lawmaker who now lives in Rio Rancho.

And if Dan held out any hope that he might launch a political comeback on the wings of the Tea Party, this news isn't going to get him much lift.


The connections of La Politica go on and on. Here's another dealing with that lawsuit to overturn limits on city campaign contributions. Dem mayoral hopeful Pete Dinelli has asked the federal court to allow him to intervene in the case. And who did the asking for Pete? Why none other than former two term Dem ABQ City Councilor Michael Cadigan---the ex-law partner of Al Park, who, as you know, is on the opposite side of this issue.

Cadigan helped craft the city campaign law in question while on the council. He is now in private law practice;

(Veteran ABQ photographer Mark Bralley was among a number of readers who pointed out the Park-Cadigan connection).


Pete Domenici
Some stories speak for themselves and this one about 81 year old former NM GOP Senator Pete Domenici falls in that category:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) refused to meet with former Sen. Pete Domenici last week, citing the New Mexico Republican's bombshell revelation that he secretly fathered a son outside of marriage more than 30 years ago.

Domenici confessed his affair with Michelle Laxalt, daughter of Paul Laxalt, a former Nevada senator and governor of Nevada, in February. The son, Adam Paul Laxalt, now works as an attorney in Nevada. Reid and Domenici became close working in the Senate for over 22 years, but the revelation soured their relations.

“I don’t mention Domenici’s name anymore because of what he did to Michelle Laxalt," Reid told the Las Vegas Review Journal on Monday, adding that Domenici requested to see him last week. “I wouldn’t let him come and see me. But anyway, that’s another story.”

Domenici reacted this way from his DC home:

I have occasion to call [Reid] every now and then. Harry has been a longtime friend, and I'm sorry for what happened 35 years ago, and look forward to an opportunity to talk to him.

Pete celebrated his 81st birthday Tuesday. He's had better ones.


ABQ reader Dr. Henry Casso writes:

Your frequent references to the dropping of federal and state jobs provides ample rationale for the convening of a summit on the use of technology transfer by our two US Senators. Retired Senators Bingaman and Domenici were the founders of technology transfer. There has been a shift in leadership at Sandia National Labs and Los Alamos Labs. There is a tendency to lack institutional memory. I suggest these two Senatorial offices convene a Technology Transfer Summit, explore its current use, past effectiveness and explore how, in these economically challenging times, this policy can effectively be used....Let’s wake up before it is too late.

And may we suggest, Dr. Casso, that Senators Heinrich and Udall serve some really tasty enchiladas with lots of red chile at the summit because this complicated stuff is hard to sit through.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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