I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
E-mails show concerns over SOS soliciting donations from contractors, KUNM reports
KUNM has learned the state Attorney General’s office has concerns over what the Secretary of State may be doing with regard to seeking donations from contractors. In documents obtained this week, the AG’s office seems to back up the claims of one of Herrera’s former employees.
Elections Director A.J. Salazar, in his February 26 resignation letter to Secretary of State Mary Herrera, alleged, among other things, that she ordered all of her exempt employees to each gather 1,000 petition signatures for her re-election campaign. Salazar also said Herrera insisted employees “obtain sponsorships or donations” from contractors with business with the Secretary of State’s office. Shortly after Salazar’s letter became public, Herrera told the Albuquerque Journal that his allegations were unfounded, and based on “twisted information.” In his resignation letter, Salazar says e-mails prove otherwise.
KUNM has obtained some of those e-mails. In one, dated February 10, an assistant attorney general writes to Herrera: “I believe that the office or some employees in the office may be soliciting donations from contractors.” The subject line of the e-mail: “Admonition regarding solicitations.”
Two days later, following a volley of e-mails with the same subject line between Herrera, Salazar, and Deputy Secretary Don Francisco Trujillo, Salazar responded to an e-mail from Herrera with the words “I am not judging anyone; I am trying to keep you out of trouble,” an indication that Herrera was upset with Salazar for bringing the issue to the attention of the Attorney General’s office. Neither the Secretary of State’s office nor Attorney General’s office returned KUNM’s requests for more information on the e-mails. Salazar has hired an attorney and is directing all requests for comment to him.
Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary Trujillo, last week, was named the new Elections Director by Herrera. KUNM reported earlier last week that along with Salazar, two other former Directors, and one in line for the position, each left their positions over criticism of Trujillo’s management style. Herrera has defended Trujillo as having “strong management skills,” and maintains her former elections employees criticized Trujillo because they were “not competent to do their jobs.”