December 21, 2015

2015 Recap: November saw FBI looking into Martinez, plus Duran fallout

Rumors of a federal investigation in New Mexico broke into actual news, as reports came down that Gov. Susana Martinez’s fundraising was under FBI scrutiny. We spoke to one former official who said the FBI asked about issues in the administration and later a report said the FBI was investigating audits from the state Taxation and Revenue Department.

Note: Each weekday from here through December 22, we will be looking back at the top stories from each month here at NM Political Report. These could be the most-read stories, some interesting stories that didn’t get much attention or just plain important stories.

Previous recaps: January. February. March. April. May. June. July. August. September. October.

FBI in NMMartinez herself confirmed that the FBI spoke to her and members of her staff as part of the investigation.

NM Political Report confirmed that TRD Secretary Demesia Padilla wanted to help her former client in the audit.

The Dianna Duran fallout continued and we wrote about how Duran went from the campaign finance enforcer to a lawbreaker of those same laws (the story appeared in the ABQ Free Press as well).

After the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, some criticized the rhetoric that now surrounds abortion. Anti-abortion opponents denounced the shooting as well.

The City of Albuquerque raised eyebrows when, in a response to a lawsuit, the city attorney said that their is no right to an “adequate” police investigation.

State Rep. Paul Pacheco said he would introduce a two-tier system for driver’s licenses in the upcoming Legislative Session, which would be a big change from the past when Republicans in the House, siding with Gov. Susana Martinez, had rejected such an idea in the past. Republicans and Democrats offered their plans to curb crime after several high profile crimes in Albuquerque.

Democrats are now pushing ethics bills in the upcoming session after the high profile ethics problems throughout the year.

After the Paris attacks and some remarks by Republican presidential candidates, the issue of the United States accepting refugees from Syria became a big one. Some said that no Muslims from Syria should be allowed to enter the United States.The governor said she wanted a “very clear plan” before the state accepted any refugees from the war-torn Middle Eastern country and later participated in a conference call with the White House. U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich said assuming all refugees are a threat was against American values, while U.S. Senator Tom Udall said “we are not at war against a religion.” Even author George R.R. Martin weighed in.

Las Cruces city elections saw mayor Ken Miyagishima relatively easily winning reelection while two progressives who were targeted by an out-of-city Super PAC won by razor-thin margins. A recount ended up changing nothing.

The Supreme Court vacancy left by a retiring Richard Bosson got a name to fill it: Judith Nakamura.

The Bernalillo County Commission sent Idalia Lechuga-Tena to Santa Fe; well, they appointed her to fill the vacancy in House District 21 despite some controversy. The Bernalillo County Clerk asked for prosecutors to look into Lechuga-Tena voting before she was a citizen; she was sworn in before Thanksgiving.

Former Speaker of the House Ken Martinez accepted a job as city attorney and, as such, announced that he would not run for another term in the state House. Conrad James, who serves in a key swing seat with control of the House up for grabs, will not seek another term.

A rapid bus transit system backed by Mayor Richard Berry is proving divisive and folks from national organizations are throwing their weight around.

In northern New Mexico, an audit accused a former principal of misusing $12,000 in student candy money.

Quick hits: