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SMALL STATE ELECTION FRAUD TURNS A BIG PROFIT
A Group controlling Republican politics in New Mexico has had a nasty split in the Governor’s race in the Republican primary, offering an opportunity to view their money-making and illegal activities. A few of us think it’s a big story because it involves the whole country. The problem is no one’s investigating since our main newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, is influenced by the State Republican Party, and the story is about the Republican Party. I should know, I had worked for the State Party for years. So I’m reaching out beyond New Mexico with an anonymous story that will hopefully be dealt with before the primary so that it doesn’t become a Republican/Democrat thing in a general election.
It’s about threats, pay to play, intimidation, election fraud, money laundering, unethical and illegal contracts, abuse of power, unprosecuted violations of State Law, and contracts and deals with members of Congress and the White House by the New Mexico Republican Party and the Republican National Committee.
In New Mexico we’ve got our big stories about Democrat Governor Richardson and his alleged pay to play schemes and President Pro-Tem of the State Senate Democrat Manny Aragon who just went to prison for money fraud. These were big, daily issues because they deserved to be, but also because the only newspaper in town chose to report them. In the past, insiders at the Republican Party were not exposed because of the cozy relationships between the paper and Senator Domenici, and Congresswoman Wilson and Sheriff Darren White supplying all the news that they could handle, as well as all their connections at the White House. But, I and others heard the conversations and saw the results of their actions, and someone has to expose what’s happened and happening right now, so they don’t get away with it anymore.
Just finding out that Sarah Palin came to New Mexico to endorse someone in a primary, brought back memories of a time I experienced REAL New Mexico politics and even politics for the first time. It is interesting that with so many people running in a Republican primary for Governor in New Mexico, that Palin can pick out a candidate that best represents the conservative movement that she beholds. What we find out is that it has nothing to do with ideology and everything to do with money and the corruption of our political system. I know and worked for the group that is behind the candidate Palin is supporting and in reality they are everything that Sarah Palin has said she was against—especially if she’s still against corruption in government. But what is she expected to know or even care.
I had no idea my first foray into politics would leave me with such a bad taste, with the real reasons political parties exist—at least the Republican Party—was primarily concerned with achieving power to make money. While in the beginning, I was just an office helper, go/fer type, over many years I eventually went places and heard things that were quite an education. I was able to piece together over time, what the laughing, the yelling, the high fives, the screaming, the frantic phone calls, the late night secretive meetings, and the Emails and Faxes from the Nations Capitol and the White House were all about. It was a giant live chess match with opponents, including first those in the Republican Party, and then the Democrats.
Those of us just outside the inside were there to learn and help the cause. And learn we did from each of the characters that headed up the Party from the Front lines or behind the scenes, who were smart, and knew what they were doing. They were winners and we were impressed with how they were able to accomplish all that they did. And, over time, we didn’t need to get to know them personally to know almost everything about them. Each one of us added a different piece to the puzzle of who we were working for. It was all from hearsay or two hearsays, but it all came together as an interesting few years of what politics is all about, especially for those of us who wrote things down to someday chronicle what we thought would be an interesting time in our lives, so that we could say we made a difference.
My introduction as an on again, off again employee/volunteer for the Republican Party of New Mexico will also lead to how they ended up with so many candidates for Governor this election cycle, since some of them were considered Party insiders, allies and even close personal friends of each other just a couple of years ago.
But, the story begins years before, in 2003, when John Dendahl was Chairman of the Party. He ran it with an iron fist and little encouragement of outsiders to get involved. We heard about it from the bragging and at first thought it was just talk about a powerful political network that included Karl Rove, Mickey Barnett, Jay McCleskey and State Senator Rod Adair—whose closest friend in the State Senate was Senator Ramsey Gorham. Gorham became an insider of this group and saw the deals that were being made and also the self-serving political decisions by this GROUP that had control in State and National politics. You could tell they didn’t let her get into it all—after all it was an all boys team.
Gorham, who was wealthy because of the sale of her family’s oil business, apparently didn’t appreciate that the Party was being used and abused to make money through power for these political allies. I guess she didn’t need any more income and became more idealistic with regards to the goals of the State Republican Party. She wanted to open it up, so that a few people weren’t making behind closed door decisions for their own benefit and precluding the Party from growing and fielding the best candidates, not just those with allegiance to the insiders—and made that viewpoint known.
Gorham eventually had a falling out with her confidant Adair and the rest of these insiders, seemingly because of all the ethical lines they were crossing, and decided to run for State Chairman and wins. It is wrongly characterized as a win for moderates versus the conservatives in power. Dendahl, Barnett, and McClesky had originally solicited the support of the Christian coalition headed up by a political ally, and was thusly labeled “conservative,” while ideology had little to do with their alliances, but saw it to their benefit to use a conservative label and numbers. So the Gorham victory was less about a moderate winning over conservatives, then it was getting rid of a corrupt inner circle and opening up the Party. Gorham began expanding the influence of the State Republican Party as well as her own political future, and it had been mentioned that she would be a good candidate for Governor or even US Senator.
It was when she began eliminating personal contracts and stopped the political patronage that her days were numbered. She didn’t need the personal deals with the National Party or the members of Congress, so the money train began to slow and she made it known that it would be stopping. It was then, that her former allies, especially her former best friend Senator Adair, began to plot against her and used Party Rules and State Statute to do her in. They concocted a plan using State Law and Rule that prohibited the Party Chairman from favoring or endorsing one candidate for office over another in a primary election. They decided to field a primary candidate against Gorham for her Senate Seat, forcing her to choose between being State Chairman or a State Senator. They had some difficulty finding someone to run against her, but with the help of past contacts from Lobbyist Barnett and McCleskey in DC, they found a willing participant in John Ryan, a lobbyist and former aide to Senator Domenici, with a criminal background. As it turns out the crime of which he was convicted was particularly cruel against a matriarch of the State Republican Party. But in Ryan, this group had a trusted ally who understood the stakes involved and could take the heat and understand the benefits to getting rid of Gorham. He was set up in a beautiful house that was almost around the block from Gorham.
Gorham didn’t give up either position quietly, and was prepared to fight against this plan. This caused the group to up the ante and decided that they would use what appeared to be trumped-up allegations in the media to attack members of Gorham’s family if she fought. There were some things about her and her family that Gorham did not want to have to publically defend. With the GROUP now including the alliances of Congresswoman Wilson, Senator Domenici—through Chief of Staff Steve Bell, who was making most of these decisions on behalf of the Senator—McCleskey with the RNC, and the behind the scenes maneuvering and plotting of Barnett, Adair and with the counsel of Rove, they already had influence at the states largest newspaper The Albuquerque Journal, to get the message out, and Gorham knew it. Rather than stay and fight and expose herself and family to ridicule, Gorham decided to give up both positions, leave politics in New Mexico and move to North Carolina. She left town so quickly, because she said the threats were vicious and that these people would stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. She should know, and to this day refuses to talk about her quick exit due to the threats against her, even though some of the old timers in the office thought enough of her to try and maintain contact. This GROUP had shown that they had the power, resources, and bad intentions to play hard ball, and personally destroy any opposition to their political industry.
Eventually in 2004, it came time to attempt to bring the Party back together for the purpose of running a campaign against Richardson and reelecting its Congressional delegation and there was much dissension because of Gorham leaving. The GROUP decided to use Domenici to call in a favor from Allen Weh, whose aviation business went from mediocre to super successful and made Weh a multi-millionaire because of the help of Wilson, Domenici and Rove. Wilson and Domenici would get Weh introduced to those in the Defense Department, etc. to build up his business, CSI Aviation, and then people on their staffs would have a husband or wife who would get good-paying jobs working for the aviation company, or bigger things involving business trade-offs, and of course assistance with campaigns. Weh was told that he was needed to take over the Party and bring all sides together to support the Party’s candidates. He was supposed to appear impartial, but behind the scenes reluctantly listened to the wishes of the GROUP. They brought on Marta Kramer, apparently a holdover from Dendahl, who was the Party point person for the GROUP. It was evident that Weh’s strong personality and military background caused him to occasionally be at odds with the GROUP’S political intentions and unethical behavior, but most of the time seemed to turn a blind eye to their deals, because he was in the financial position he was because of such deals.
With Bush in the White House they got another of their GROUP, Scott Jennings, there as Rove’s assistant. The deals seemed to become more lucrative for all involved, with new names and new faces appearing, some even to “volunteer” on campaigns from DC with talk of being on someone’s payroll, but the GROUP had to maintain total control to keep the money and people flowing. They couldn’t have any dissenters or anyone that they couldn’t trust with the exposure of all they were into, which also meant that they needed to control the Republican candidates for office.
There were lots of political payback between them and Wilson, and Domenici, all sharing the spoils of office. Besides the favors and jobs and contracts to people like Weh, there are also the political contracts that you have to participate in if you wanted to run for office in the Republican Party. The State and National Party are big businesses with millions being funneled in and out to those in control. Eventually it evolved to include the White House and Congress sharing in the wealth.
While it started with Dendahl as chairman, and then Weh, it took off with the ascendency of McCleskey as a director in the RNC and eventually their ties to the White House. There wasn’t much concealment of this kind of business, since it was going on for so long, it seems they became too comfortable and it became a normal course of activity. The way it worked was, if you wanted to run for office, everyone knew that you would get the blessing and information from the RNC if you hired the firm Public Opinion Strategies owned by Nicole McCleskey, wife of RNC’s Jay McCleskey, who did polling and research for candidates. Adair was close behind getting his money for demographic advice to both the party and candidates. They knew with the control of information such as voting lists and access to contributors, they would be able to control who would win the Republican primaries. Even if they didn’t win the General election, at least they were sure that no outsiders would question their deals and they would still make a nice profit off the campaigns they serviced. Pretty soon, these kind of side-deals were going on all around the country, with anyone running for a federal office having to go through the same deal in DC. Blaize Hazelwood was Director of the Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as Political Director of the RNC. Her job in the primaries was to equally provide information to those running for federal office and to monitor campaigns. What no one knew was that in New Mexico, she was in constant contact with McCleskey, and therefore his wife. She would feed him information from the reports she was receiving from opposition campaigns to assist the candidates that McCleskey’s wife was working for and in exchange, any printing and mailing they needed would be directed to Targeted Communications in Virginia, which happened to be owned by Hazelwood’s husband. They worked hand in hand on many campaigns throughout the country, including Wilson’s, to keep the money in the family.
With Wilson and Domenici as the breadwinners they had to make sure that Wilson was reelected and that they have someone run against Democrat US Senator Jeff Bingaman who would be hiring the spouses McClesky and Hazelwood. They had JR Damron MD set to be the Governor candidate going on the attack to keep Richardson busy. They didn’t have big hopes for JR, but figured that he cold keep Richardson out of the other races and maybe even wound him enough to hurt his political future.
Then they ran into a hiccup in the race to replace Bingaman. They had hand picked a candidate from a city in northern New Mexico who had never run for office before. Allen McCulloch, a urologist whose family had a lot of money made in the oil and gas business, was a such a novice that he had to hire a speech teacher during the campaign. Early polling showed him a big loser to Bingaman in the General election. But with promises from the candidate and his family and friends in the oil business to finance a big money campaign, McCleskey and Hazelwood saw the ability to direct a lot of business to their family members even if he lost. Unfortunately, two other candidates entered the race, both with more political saavy than McCulloch, but were both party outsiders, who would eventually cause problems and loss of income for the GROUP especially if either was the candidate or even more of long shot, actually beat Bingaman.
Former Santa Fe City councilor Alan Pfeiffer, a fire-brand conservative in liberal Santa Fe, and long time State Senator Joe Carraro, also a conservative, were both formidable candidates against Bingaman, but were discouraged against running by the RNC and the Senatorial Committee since McCulloch already had the blessing of the local Party. When they both decided to run, Marta Kramer as Executive Director of the State Party was given orders by McCleskey to keep them off the ballot during the convention. Since it appeared Weh was not in on the scheme, he echoed the complaints of Carraro and Pfeffer of ballot misappropriation and accusations about them having “rap sheets” during the convention, and was told by the GROUP what’s done was done. Weh showed his subordination to the GROUP by shutting up.
On the ballot, they both campaigned vigorously in debates against each other since most of the time McCulloch didn’t show up, with the GROUP pressuring him to not be afraid. Meanwhile, both Carraro and Pfeiffer also were reporting progress in their campaigns to Hazelwood. While McCulloch was outspending his opponents by at least 10-1 with mostly large expensive issue cards produced and mailed by Targeted Communications, both Pfeiifer and Carraro were still lurking in striking distance. Then an unhappy Hazelwood called McCleskey with Carraro’s report to her that his polling showed him with a 20-30 point lead over McCulloch. The headquarters was shocked with most in the GROUP expressing disbelief. It was then McCleskey had his GROUP and a couple of those in the office, gather and send information to Hazelwood’s husband accusing Carraro of using State funds to take a trip to Hawaii. They sent out the large card just prior to election day because they didn’t want Carraro to respond, and showed what appeared to be him reclining on a Hawaii beach with a woman, accusing him of drinking and partying, while they joked in the office about how the picture actually had people thinking it was Carraro. They also laughed and admitted that he was really there with legislators talking about Homeland Security with Tom Ridge right after 9-11, and mentioned that they at least hoped he had gone to the beach. It was wrong, but they said Carraro was too arrogant. That day, Carraro called our state office and also the RNC desperately trying to access his Voters Vault account with them, that gave him the mailing lists that all candidates had through the Republican Party—this was set up by Hazelwood so that candidates all over the country would have to depend on the RNC for all their voter information--since he still had three days to get the message out that it was all made up. We were told not to give him any information so there was no way he could respond, and then Kramer finally gave him the code when he threatened to go to the media. Unfortunately, it was the wrong code. But in the end McCulloch killed his opponents, spent a lot of money with his advisors on mailings and received 29% of the vote in the General election. Carraro went to the FBI and sent letters to the US Attorney General in DC that the GROUP got word of, but laughed it off.
It was right about the time of the primary that, that there was beginning to be talk that Damron couldn’t attack, either because of his personality or his wife’s job that could be in jeopardy with the State. So they had a meeting at the house of the last Richardson Republican challenger, John Sanchez during a fundraising party, and apparently with Barnett’s insistence decided to not only have Damron step down as Governor candidate after the primary, but replace him with former Chairman Dendahl. To accomplish this, they delayed since they thought most Republican delegates would object, and decided to wait until they called a quicky Central Committee meeting with less than half of the members present, and have Dendahl appointed by saying that others they asked didn’t want to run. It was another example of getting away with bypassing the electoral process and deciding who was going to run for their benefit. Those they said they asked to run, seemed surprised by that comment, including the Lieutenant Governor candidate Senator Wilson. It seemed like Weh had become a dictator, but it was also that he was following orders of the group including Barnett, and Bell, representing Domenici, to bring Dendahl back into a leadership position of the Republican Party.
During the General election they also ran into tough opposition with New Mexico Attorney General Patsy Madrid running a strong race against Wilson. It was in the last months of that race that things became very tense around headquarters. It seemed that they had run out of ideas, and decided to call on their friend David Iglesias to move the cases against the State Treasurer and State Senator Manny Aragon forward to give the Republican Party corruption ammunition to use against the Democrats, in the election against Madrid.
The impression was that Wilson wasn’t very likeable and that Madrid had the money and law enforcement background, and the campaign was losing ground and at one point I remember that they thought that Madrid had a good lead., and were desperate. Republican attorney Pat Rogers joined with Weh and Sherriff Darren White and Barnett to each place calls to the White House, Wilson, Domenici, the RNC and others, almost everyday, many times from the headquarters or having these people return their calls at Headquarters. We could only imagine the beehive of activity at Barnett’s law office or Weh’s Aviation company. This was their livelihoods they were worried about. Scott Jennings would report in from the White House what was thought to be Karl Rove’s ideas, with Domenici or Bell and Wilson from the Capitol, Trips were planned for them to go to DC to lobby for someone to talk to Iglesias, who they thought didn’t understand how desperate the situation was. It was amazing that these people in a small state like New Mexico wielded such power and access. There was talk that Domenici called the President about Iglesias, but imagine Weh, Barnett, Rogers and Adair talking to Rove with all else going on in the world, and having Jennings speak out about it in the media from his office in the White House. These people had some high power connections. And this is just from where we were sitting. We could only imagine all that was going on.
At some point they found out that Iglesias wasn’t going along with their plan. They complained openly about him turning his back on the friends that got him his job. Darren White seemed to yell the loudest about it and the GROUP seemed all in agreement how they needed to get him “dumped.” We didn’t hear much more, except knowing about the trips and calls to now get rid of Iglesias. When that happened, most everyone aware of what was going on, changed the view of the GROUP from having power to abusing too much power. People became scared. Of course, Wilson barely won. The GROUP was ecstatic but also would openly talk about how they worked for every dollar during that campaign. And of course, they were pleased that President Bush appointed Barnett Governor of the Postal Service for all his dealing the past year.
That election and the disastrous Dendahl and McCulloch loss coupled with the Carraro mailing, caused this group and especially Alen Weh to lose face with an outcry for his stepping down as Chairman. Much of the opposition was coming from County Party Chairman from around the State, in particular Fernando Cde Baca, Chairman of Bernalillo, the largest County in New Mexico. He had been complaining since the primary convention, and with other Chairmen decided to run a slate of candidates against Weh and his supporters.
CDe Baca had been a problem for this GROUP for years, requesting records and an audit of contracts and expenses. They thought he must have had too much information on them already to ask the questions he was asking. While another County Chair was determined to take on Weh, it was supposed that CDe Baca felt he could still cause them problems if he ran and won as Vice-Chairman since he was popular enough to get at least that position. The group was organized with enough votes at the convention to keep Weh, but was worried that CDeBaca could put a damper on all their activities if he was elected. They enlisted another of their cohorts, a local blogger, Mario Burgos who spewed venom on his blogs about Republicans like Iglesias, who opposed the group, as well as Democrats to give him cover. They had Burgos disseminate a picture of CDe Baca, just minutes before the election, apparently in handcuffs from back during his work in DC with the Reagan Administration. CDe Baca made a last minute futile attempt denying what the picture and word description portrayed, but was barely defeated in the election. He would continue as a County Chairman, with Weh and the group attempting to take over many of his responsibilities and authority and was a constant target of the GROUP, apparently to keep him from demanding the records.
Of course, everyone at the Party was awaiting results of the investigation into the dismissal of Iglesias and other US Attorneys. Someone in the Department of Justice seemed to have found that the dismissals were unjust and implicated Weh, Wilson, Domenici, Rogers, White and I believe even Rove and Jennings. Practically the whole GROUP. And, what we had heard, with all the records and testimony, it looked like they would all be found guilty of some sort of tampering with elections—the same charge they had asked Iglesias to make against the Democrats—or even more seriously, attempting to influence a federal trial—because they were not only requesting that they speed the trial along, but it was obvious they were pushing Iglesias for a conviction to use in the election. They knew they had the White House on their side and if one went down, they all would go—at least that was the thinking of us non-legal types. But these folks were all supposed to be smart— and understood politics better than most politicians. And the plotting and planning were furious. It took up all their time. It was hard to imagine a Watergate occurring in New Mexico, but this was it. Even the President was being implicated and his closest staff members weren’t talking. An average citizen would wonder how someone refuses to talk to the Justice Department. But just like it always happens in politics, someone thought of a deal. And, at first you root for the bad guys who are dead in the water, because you want to see how they can figure out a way to outsmart the good guys who’ve got them dead to rights, then you realize that this isn’t just a game, and it’s wrong.
First, Domenici claims he didn’t tell Wilson to call Iglesias about this matter, and that she called about something else. That supposedly clears her, even with Iglesias’ claims that she called about the trial. And then Senator Domenici claims to have a brain disorder that will preclude him from running in the next year election. Then the Senate agrees to just admonish him with strong words and he and everyone else is off the hook, because in order to get everyone else you have to include the Senator. This planning only took a week, with then Wilson deciding to run for Domenici’s seat. Of course, over time a “miracle” occurs and the Senator no longer has a brain disorder. But, we all thought, that’s what makes them always successful at what they do—they take what is given to them and make what they can—with no holds barred or ethical standard as a barrier. And no one questioned. Of course, the only media with an opinion, the Journal, gave them a free pass, and the Democrats got a chance at winning another US Senate seat.
Since this was also a Presidential election year, the GROUP wanted to be sure that their interests in the White House were protected, which meant that McCain could not be the Republican nominee because they hated him. Barnett publically said he would vote for Hillary before he’d vote for McCain. There was also mention that Congressman Pearce from the Southern District was considering a run for the Senate to replace Domenici. Democrat Congressman Udall already had made up his mind to run. If either Pearce or Udall were elected, the group knew its future activities were in jeopardy. One of the GROUP, Darren White, had already jumped on board as manager of the Guiliani campaign, signaling who the group was supporting. Within days it was decided that Congresswoman Wilson would have to immediately announce a run for Domenici’s seat to keep Pearce out. It was determined at White’s request that he run for Wilson’s seat. Given the best of all worlds considering the alternative, wins in these seats could keep the group in the money, especially if Guiliani could win the Presidency. It was another amazing recovery, from no hope of a job in the future, to be right back in the thick of things, and also the opportunity to sell their services to the campaigns.
After White announces, the object of the group becomes to keep others from running against their candidates. They make sure the Pearce understands that the party apparatus will be with Wilson which includes their get out the vote effort and the contributions, as well as a hint that Domenici will endorse Wilson if the race is close. The RNC and Congressional Campaign Committee discourage three legislators from running against White by telling them that they would not be supported if they won the Primary, and then members of the group and even the State Party threatened the legislators, Senator Boitano, Representative Arnold-Jones and Senator Carraro, with personal and business exposures made public in the media, that would embarrass them and their families. But Carraro announces for Wilson’s seat and Pearce announces for Domenici’s seat. The Burgos blog attacks Carraro for a consulting job with a turf company to discourage his run and sends it out to delegates with Carraro continuing to run while informing delegates that Burgos information is a lie. He didn’t seem worried that he had done anything wrong. But members of the GROUP talk openly, that while delegates will now question Carraro, they need to make sure he is kept off the ballot.
They meet with Wilson and some sort of deal is made to bring people in to the convention to try and keep Carraro and Pearce off the ballot, and new lists are brought in to have people show up at the convention, many who had never been involved before. They are told by staff that fees will be taken care of as well a payment for two hours. The convention becomes fraught with allegations against White and Wilson with vote-buying that is confirmed by members of the media and former Governor Cargo as well as Carraro and Arnold-Jones, but is dismissed by the Albuquerque Journal as internal politics. But bloggers around the country have a field day with the story, as a reporter with the main local radio station KKOB, quits because she is told not to do any investigating or reporting on the story, apparently because of a phone call by someone in the Republican Party, telling the station to drop it. Carraro is kept off the ballot at the convention but gathers enough petition signatures to get back on. The groups polling shows White with a substantial lead, but a debate with Carraro unnerves them to the point of realizing that Carraro could gain ground and at least destroy the credibility of White. White becomes so upset, he demands that they pull out all stops to go after Carraro, especially having someone call the paper and get them on it. Someone also jokingly suggests that Sheriff White have a bug put in Carraro’s house. They also call Rove who works out a strategy that includes bringing in the President if needed at the end of the campaign to support White. McCleskey gets the RNC and Weh to agree to endorse White, going against the Party rules and State Law that they used to get Gorham out of her positions.
Carraro files a complaint with the Secretary of State who agrees with Carraro that State Law was broken by the State Republican Party, Chairman Weh, as well as the RNC and candidate White, and both file a complaint with New Mexico Attorney General, Democrat Gary King. Carraro goes public with his outcry as the President comes to town for a White fundraiser. The GROUP tells the AG that a violation of Party Rules is not state business. Carraro goes on TV and says that this is a STATE LAW and party rules have nothing to do with it. They go to the AG and tell him that fed law preempts state law. Carraro has a press conference saying that a federal law doesn’t exist that pre-empts their state law, and that the AG is just looking for a way not to enforce a law he is responsible to enforce: Especially denying a New Mexican citizen the right to a fair election, by siding with those from DC. King refuses to act before the election as Carraro demands, there’s high-fives at headquarters saying, “he bought it,” and even some of us at the office are shocked that they could go against State Law, with a Democrat in charge of enforcing State laws, and get away with it. Carraro had anyone with any power in the Republican Party against him, and he was a Republican. Adding salt to Carraro’s wounds, days before the election the Albuquerque Journal comes out with a front page story with a Headline implying that Carraro was employed by a turf company as a consultant and steered public contracts their way, echoing Burgos story before the Convention. Carraro again denied the allegations, but at this point it didn’t matter, because they just didn’t want to win, they wanted to bury him. It was just like all the others. At a press conference Carraro said that when he was interviewed for the article, he was told by the reporter that orders for the story came from the top and then told Carraro that the way for the story not to be published, is if he lightened up—and that came from the top. Carraro said he told him that there was no story and that he wouldn’t lighten up on his attacks on White and the Republican Party. At Headquarters they said White was far ahead of Carraro in their polling, but that the newspaper story was a way to get him to stop his attacks that could hurt White in the General Election.
It was hard not to feel sorry for Carraro. He appeared like a desperate candidate and even demanded that the election be postponed until the Attorney General ruled. The Attorney General had the choice of bringing charges against the Republican Party in both the State and Nationally, or doing nothing. He stayed silent, with the group and their attorneys confident that would happen after their conversations with the AG’s office. They talked about telling the AG that he didn’t want to take on this political battle because it would appear to only be partisan in nature, and he had bigger fish to fry. They’ve gotten away with everything else, why not openly break a State Law?
Carraro loses the election and asks for help from US Attorney Gonzales again. The GROUP receives a copy of Carraro’s complaint at headquarters and it is dismissed. They now have two campaigns to service, with McCleskey and Hazelwood picking up other campaigns from other states as well as contracting with McCain/Palin. Even the hatred of McCain couldn’t stop the lure of money. Wilson also loses the Primary to Pearce, even though at the end of the campaign, Domenici comes out and endorses her, losing some respect in New Mexico. Udall wins and White loses and the Republican Party finally changes leadership, and most of us move on with the knowledge and experience of seasoned observers.
Now, to keep the group employed, since there are no more national or state deals available, they went hunting for someone to enter the race for Mayor of Albuquerque and found a willing friend in State Representative RJ Berry. With the groups organizational and get out the vote skills unmatched except by a then wounded Democrat Mayor Chavez, who was also running against another Democrat Romero, with them splitting the vote. Just watching the election from the outside, I was still in awe as well as afraid of what this GROUP was capable of accomplishing. As Berry was elected as Mayor they knew they were back in business, albeit not the big deals and contracts they had before. But Berry owed them and rewarded big jobs for them and their unemployed staffs. Anyone out of work and loyal to their group is now working for City Hall, with Darren White getting a big raise to $125,000/year for filling a new position and helping Berry in his campaign.
Then this new Gubernatorial election cycle started out with these old allies torn apart because of what happened in previous cycles. It appears Allen Weh wanted to distance himself from this group that some say caused him to lose face and some say honor. When he announced for Governor, he realized, as Gorham did, that with all his money that he made from his aviation contracts, that he didn’t need the group and their corrupt deals and contracts which would have to include hiring McCleskey’s wife and now McCleskey who heads up his own political strategy group, and who knows who else after he is elected. Hazelwood had moved on by managing Michael Steele’s campaign for Chairman of the RNC and became his Chief of Staff and then started her own political strategy company. Hearing years ago that the Dan Hazelwood’s Targeted Creative Communications that had done in Carraro was the beneficiary of over $1 million a year from the Republican Party when his wife was involved in running it, makes you wonder how much she and the McCleskeys are going to bring in now that their both out there with their buddy Steele as Chairman.
But doing so well in New Mexico, apparently left this GROUP wanting to get some more business here, so they went looking for a candidate. They knew Representative Arnold-Jones didn’t want any part of them and if she was ever the nominee or even won, that they were out of a job, both in campaigns and in the Party. Probably the same with Turner who helped former Governor Gary Johnson get elected and watched as White was disgraced and turned on his former boss after Johnson gave him a job in his administration. So they went with Susana Martinez, a DA from the southern part of New Mexico and someone unaware of all the negative history, but made aware of the success of the GROUP in primary battles. It’s rumored that their polling showed Turner and Arnold-Jones as taking what little support they had, away from Martinez, since Republicans supporting them were doing so because they were qualified, but also because Weh was not a choice for them. So the GROUP began negative phone polling against both those candidates to hopefully bring their supporters to Martinez.
With them as the major frontrunners, Martinez and Weh are attacking each other. Martinez clearly has the advantage with endorsements, since the GROUP has a lot of favors to call in and a lot of subtle intimidation because of how they have destroyed those in opposition. But a key endorsement is missing. Senator Domenici’s son, a local attorney, was a late entry into the race and everyone anticipated that he would be one of the frontrunners with Weh because of his name and the endorsement of not only his father, but of former Congresswoman Wilson, who was hand-picked by Domenici to be Congresswoman and were thought of as the closest of friends. She has decided not to endorse anyone in this race, even though Senator Domenici was thought to have lost respect of many of his supporters when he endorsed Wilson in the Primary over Pearce. It is sad to see how favors and power that are no longer available, can cause friendships and loyalty to die. Unless of course, this GROUP still has the power to control who serves on lucrative national committees, and thought no endorsement from Wilson with Domenici in the race, would also serve their purpose, as well as her future revenues. With some folks, fear and money trump loyalty. Meanwhile, Weh has been reported to have spent over $1 million so far of his personal money on the campaign, while Martinez has kept pace with his campaign revenues with one donor who has already given her almost $120,000.
The group needs to win the primary to be insured a General Election payday, as well as the opportunity for jobs in State Government with Darren White returning to State Government for his endorsement of Martinez, as he has done with Berry. Of course, with their self-imposed Conservative label, we may expect them to be lined up with the Tea Party Movement and a future of running campaigns with Sarah Palin as a member of the GROUP.
While it may sound crazy that this could happen in the future, I look at all that has happened in the past. We got into helping the Republican Party because we were taught the Democrats were the bad guys. It appears now, that the Democrat Party is just another team, with the only object being to beat them and take control. It sounds almost medieval, but then you have the right to pillage and plunder. Unfortunately, the citizens of our country are the ones being pillaged.
Someone has to expose who these people are, and what they are doing to politics in our country.
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