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Tue June 12, 2012
State Agency Provides Info on Non-Union Teachers to Governor's PAC
State employees compiled information about non-union teachers and provided a list to Governor Susana Martinez's political action committee.
From The Santa Fe New Mexican:
According to [an] email, sent May 2 by department spokesman Larry Behrens to political director Jay McCleskey and several government officials, the [Public Education] department's Information Technology Division compiled a list of all teachers and their emails. Behrens also said the department's budget staff compiled a list of which school districts have union contracts, and created a list of nonunion teachers' emails.
Behrens on Monday denied that he was doing work for McCleskey or Martinez's political operation. He said compiling the lists was in partial response to a public records request from McCleskey.
But the spokesman used a personal email account for the response, which was sent to nongovernment email accounts for all the state officials he forwarded it to. Behrens said that was an "oversight."
The email was discovered by Independent Source PAC, an organization that has been critical of the Martinez Administration. The Governor's Chief of Staff Keith Gardner and her spokesman Scott Darnell also received the lists via email addresses at SusanaPAC.com. They say they are not officials with the political action committee.
Asked about his involvement in Susana PAC and whether the administration uses private emails to communicate about government business, Darnell said, "The Governor's Office and members of her administration have worked diligently to separate their official public business from any political activities they may be involved in or made aware. The susanapac.com email address was originally established during the transition [formerly susana2010.com] and is now utilized for nongovernment work, including daily political and news clippings."