ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A spokesman for New Mexico Attorney General Gary King used state email accounts to send political updates about the prosecutor's 2010 re-election opponent.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (
http://bit.ly/NGi2zt) that at least two emails released by King appear to mix politics and state business.
The emails from state and campaign accounts were released through an Inspection of Public Records Act request from the state Republican Party.
King, a Democrat, has said he's reviewing hundreds of other private emails that address public business to determine which are required for public release.
King, however, called the Republican requests a political ploy intended to distract from his investigation into allegations of political work being done on government time by members of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration.
King's spokesman Phil Sisneros said the messages sent from state email accounts related to campaign claims that King's 2010 re-election opponent, Matthew Chandler, the district attorney for the Clovis area, made regarding official work of the Attorney General's Office, and therefore were state business.
Sisneros, in one email sent on Aug. 3, 2010, asked the attorney general if it is OK to respond to questions from politics blogger Heath Haussamen through Sisneros' state email account about Chandler's attacks regarding the attorney general's job performance.
A response from King on that question was not released.
Haussamen "contacted me on the campaign email, but I think it would be OK to respond on AGO (Attorney General's Office) email since Chandler directly assails your performance as AG," Sisneros wrote from his state email account to King's state account.
King then forwarded that note from his state account to his campaign email address.
In a second email, sent Oct. 11, 2010, Sisneros via state email updated King on a new Chandler campaign advertisement that referenced corruption investigations in New Mexico, but does not attack King.
King also forwarded that note from his state account to his campaign email.
"I didn't feel that was solely a campaign issue," Sisneros said of Chandler's attacks.
Republican Executive Director Mark Knoop said Sisneros' decision to ask King whether the email exchange was OK is a sign there was a problem.
The emails reviewed by the Journal also showed at least eight instances in which King forwarded an email from his state email account to his campaign email account.
The repeated forwarding is a sign of King's effort to separate state business and politics, as required by state law, Sisneros said.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.