New Mexico Full of Thieves And Tramps
New Mexico’s state government is full of thieves, liars, rapists and crooks. No. Wait. Hold the phone. I picked up the wrong notes. That’s an excerpt from a speech I am writing for Donald Trump.
New Mexico’s government is, however, full of baloney, baloney being a synonym for whichever harsher word is floating through your mind right this instant.
If you read the papers, it’s Tim Keller’s fault. Mr. Keller, a Democrat, is the state auditor. One can only guess the Republicans fear his political potential and therefore go all Donald on him.
Why the current dumping on the state auditor? Keller is accusing Taxation Revenue Secretary Demesia Padilla of pressuring her staff to go easy on a taxpayer for whom she worked.
Mount GOP erupted. Keller is just a partisan crackpot out to torpedo Republicans and play the press for his personal aggrandizement. Not worth a nod, say his detractors.
Maybe so. Let’s look, however, at what led to this case Keller turned over to Attorney General Hector Balderas for further investigation.
It started with a hotline complaint. Someone blew the whistle on Padilla, either truthfully or maliciously. Keller engaged an independent firm to look into the charges. Unless the investigative firm is a puppy on a leash, “independent” would seem significant.
The charges were found to have merit, and, furthermore, the investigator determined Padilla might be trying to shield herself from further complications in that she worked for the yet unidentified taxpayer as a certified public accountant.
That this is just a Keller GOP witch hunt is disputed by the conclusions of preliminary investigations which were based, according to the Albuquerque Journal, on interviews with department employees and hours of audio recordings of meetings in which senior department staff members discussed the issue.
Where there’s smoke.
The official reactions of both the GOP and Democratic state parties were predictable. The Democrats called for Padilla’s immediate resignation. The Republicans called Keller “a politician willing to smear anyone to generate a headline.”
That rush to judgment mentality, the hate and vilify your opponent mindset, is exactly the reason so many younger citizens find the political system a joke and therefore refuse to identify with either party. They don't take politicians seriously.
What concerns me is the governor’s response. Governor Susana Martinez has a spokesman. His name is Chris Sanchez. He is a pleasant young man who I was pleased to meet while he was employed as a media assistant for Heather Wilson’s failed Senate campaign.
Here is what Sanchez had to say: “Given that the highly partisan state auditor has a history of playing fast and loose with the facts in order to see his name in the paper, it’s important we first get all the facts – something that the state auditor has failed to provide.”
Based on what we read, that is a highly irresponsible response.
Governor Susana Martinez, you are the governor of all of us, not just Republicans. Your initial reaction, when you said you take all such cases seriously, was appropriate. If you dictated that additional political garbage to Chris Sanchez, shame on you. If he was flying solo, Chris needs to understand one of his job requirements is diplomacy.
And if you, Governor Martinez, prefer knife throwing to diplomacy, you are doing your state a significant injustice.
A common thread of commentary concludes New Mexico is losing steam. People want to leave. Companies don’t want to invest. Raising capital is difficult. Last on every list. Etcetera. I wonder why?