The Associated Press
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has confirmed that prosecutors and the FBI are investigating a complaint by Gov. Susana Martinez that her campaign emails were stolen.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that U.S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales late last month confirmed in a letter to Martinez that an investigation has begun.
“I can report that the FBI and this Office have initiated an investigation into this matter,” Gonzales wrote to Martinez who had inquired about the status of her complaint.
Martinez said emails sent to her campaign email address, Susana2010.com, were illegally obtained and released to the public by a union-funded political action committee.
The allegation of hacking came after a union-funded political action committee released several emails in June that show the governor and top aides used private email addresses to discuss government business. The disclosures led the GOP governor to then order state workers to end the practice of using nongovernment email accounts.
Critics had said it was unacceptable for state officials to use private email for public business, particularly Martinez, who had touted the need for more governmental transparency.
The confirmation of the federal investigation comes after an Inspection of Public Records Act request by the Journal for written communications between Martinez’s office and federal law enforcement agencies regarding her complaint.
Albuquerque-based Independent Source PAC director Michael Corwin has refused to say where he got the emails but has insisted that his source obtained them legally.
Corwin has asked for the FBI to investigate the state fairgrounds racino lease with the Downs at Albuquerque based on some of the emails the PAC released.
The administration maintains there was no preferential treatment.
Martinez used the Susana2010.com Web domain during her 2010 gubernatorial campaign. More than a website, a Web domain can include computer servers that host a website and its affiliated email addresses.
The emails released by the PAC this year include a memo from a Public Education Department spokesman, who compiled a list of nonunion teachers and their email addresses in response to a request from Martinez’s political consultant, Jay McCleskey.
That message prompted two Democratic legislators to ask Attorney General Gary King to investigate whether state resources were used for political purposes in violation of state law.
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said the governor, a former prosecutor, was pleased federal officials were getting involved.
“The governor has complete confidence in the federal law enforcement investigating this matter and believes the person or persons who committed this crime will be brought to justice,” Darnell said.