Guv, Lt. Guv spent public money on political news releases


  1. Heath Haussamen says:
    nmprof: You’re saying there was probably nothing wrong with Domenici mailing out calendars. I agree. Whether he should have spent taxpayer money on such an expense is not the question in my mind – it’s whether he was allowed to do so by law. And he was.
    Same here: What prevents Denish from using taxpayer money to work on a Christmas card? The Legislature was supposed to have a role in appropriating these funds, it appears, but chickened out like it’s done so many times when Richardson insisted on spending the money on his own. Regardless, there was apparently no additional stipulation or check on how the money was to be spent, except that it was for “essential” government services. But “essential” wasn’t defined, so the important part of that phrase is “government services.”
    Public relations, like it or not, is an important part of most government offices. That can include things like Christmas cards.
    I’m not saying it was OK for Denish to have a staffer do some work on a Christmas card that was being sent out by the campaign. I’m saying, at the time I wrote my Friday commentary, it wasn’t clear she was doing something wrong. And it’s still not really clear. It was and remains, in my mind, a gray area. That’s why I raised questions about it in my first and my second article.
  2. nmprof says:

    Heath: There’s quite a difference, as you know, between disingenuous bugling (here, remember the announcement of cold fusion in Utah), and genuine whistle blowing. I’m thinking Scarantino falls into the whistle blowing category, no? He doesn’t claim, nor has he ever claimed, to be a journalist. He publicly leaves that station to those like you, and suggests that his story is merely providing leads for others. Would this article exist without his catalyst?Ultimately, however, I really have a problem with your last two paragraphs in the previous related article I’ve referenced. You relate the Denish stimulus-gate with Domenici’s calendar:  however you as well as I know the question of spending is often castigated to the regulations behind that spending. In Domenici’s case I’m sure he had a line-item for supplying calendars (the point would have been better representative had you used Jeff than Pete, but nevertheless). You’re right in that taxpayer money should be spent as it was purposed: and spending it for political purposes should be avoided and called out when recognized. But I remain curious as to why you hesitated to call it out instead of recognizing it to begin with.

  3. Thomas Molitor says:

    Incidentally, hats off to Haussamen for whistle-blowing on one of his website advertisers – Denish.

  4. Heath Haussamen says:

    nmprof: At the time of my Friday commentary I didn’t know — and no one else had reported publicly — the concerning information that’s included in this report about the spending of public money on politics. But really, my Friday commentary was about much more than Denish’s spending of federal stimulus money. It was about my view that Scarantino’s report was incomplete and not ready for publishing, about the way the GOP tried to turn Scarantino’s reporting into a scandal when his reporting didn’t even allege any wrongdoing, and about the way the media covered the situation. The views I expressed on Friday about those topics have not changed.

    This report, which I published Tuesday evening, details the first information I’ve found about Denish’s spending of the federal stimulus money that I thought was worth an article. It is a serious topic. Certainly, the public should be concerned any time a public official misspends public money.
  5. nmprof says:

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, Heath, but did you not ask “What’s the big deal?” two days ago? If I remember correctly you also hammered the person from the New Mexico Watchdog who reported this (something about not being a real journalist as you are…)? Are you still wondering if there’s anything to be concerned about?

  6. jimscarantino says:

    Excellent work, Heath.