ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Public Safety says it will release work and vacation schedules of officers who at taxpayer expense accompanied Gov. Susana Martinez’s husband on an out-of-state trip.
DPS spokesman Tony Lynn said the records will be released as directed by Attorney General Gary King, the Albuquerque Journal reported Friday (http://bit.ly/XpvErK ).
Two state police officers accompanied Martinez’s husband, Chuck Franco, on the 2011 hunting trip to Louisiana.
The documents had been requested under the Inspection of Public Records Act by the executive director of Independent Source PAC, a union-funded political group that has been sharply critical of the Martinez administration.
The department previously refused to release the records, saying protection of the governor and her family allowed the records to be withheld.
However, King said a state Supreme Court in June no longer allows records to be withheld when the government decides disclosure isn’t in the public interest.
The June ruling stemmed from a request by the Republican Party for public records from the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat.
“There was a major change in open government law this summer, and so while this exemption may have been allowed in the spring, that’s no longer the case,” said Gwyneth Doland, executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.
Doland said records related to the state police officers’ work must now be made public because there is no specific exemption related to the governor’s security detail.
Corwin originally requested the records in April, after news reports that officers traveled with Franco.
While Franco paid his own trip expenses, the officers’ travel costs, including expenses related to the car the three drove, were taxpayer-funded.
Martinez’s office has said it is standard practice for a state-funded security detail to accompany the governor or her family on out-of-state travel for both state business and personal matters.