Naming Part-time, Inexperienced Political Crony as SOS Does Nothing to Restore Public Trust
In appointing City Councilor Brad Winter to fill out the term of convicted felon Dianna Duran, Gov. Susana Martinez has once again failed to stand up to the corruption in her administration and has instead brought in a political crony with no elections experience to serve as a part-time Secretary of State, the Democratic Party of New Mexico said on Thursday.
“This is a farce,” said Joe Kabourek, Democratic Party of New Mexico executive director. “Does Susana Martinez really think that New Mexicans won’t notice that her hand-picked Secretary of State not only has no experience running elections and only intends to work part time, but that he also is in the pocket of scandal-ridden political operative Jay McCleskey?”
Winter, whom Martinez appointed on Monday after leaving the position vacant for 53 days, has publicly said that he will not step down from his position as Albuquerque City Councilor. That position is considered a part-time job and it will prevent Winter from being able to focus full-time on fixing the mess in the Secretary of State’s office.
Further, public documents show that Winter paid McCleskey nearly $30,000 for his services during Winter’s re-election campaign this fall.
“Given all that we have learned about McCleskey, the FBI’s investigation of his fundraising, and his use of shell companies to secret campaign money into his pockets, New Mexicans are right to question a Secretary of State who has close ties to him,” Kabourek said. “They are also right to question how Gov. Susana Martinez could make such a misguided decision.”
Kabourek also said that Winter’s appointment creates more questions than it answers.
“How can New Mexicans be sure that Brad Winter wasn’t caught up in McCleskey’s money-making schemes? Has Brad Winter been interviewed by the FBI as part of the McCleskey investigation?” Kabourek asked. “There are too many questions without answers. New Mexicans have been shaken by the rampant corruption in the Martinez Administration. They deserve a governor who takes meaningful action and appoints a qualified, dedicated and independent secretary of state. Winter’s appointment is just another addition to the Martinez house of cards.”