SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A three-year investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by former New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera has been closed, and Attorney General Gary King will not be filing any charges.
King said in a letter sent to Herrera earlier this month that [auth] there wasn’t a “sufficient basis” for his office to proceed with a criminal investigation.
Herrera told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Wednesday (http://bit.ly/10b8JOt ) that she was happy it was over.
“It was all politically motivated,” the Democrat said. “It has hurt me.”
Herrera lost her re-election bid in 2010 and said she was passed over for an elections-related job in Georgia because of the allegations and the investigation.
It started in February 2010, when Herrera was accused by a former elections director of violating the Governmental Conduct Act by ordering certain employees to collect signatures for her re-election campaign and insisting that employees solicit “sponsorships or donations” from businesses that contracted with the state to support training seminars for county clerk staff.
Later that year, Herrera fired two top administrators who made similar accusations. The former employees filed lawsuits, claiming Herrera had violated the state Whistleblower Act because they had talked with federal investigators and the attorney general about possible wrongdoing in the office.
Herrera has long denied she did anything wrong. She said the FBI never contacted her and no federal charges were ever filed.
Investigators with the attorney general’s office interviewed Herrera and members of her staff shortly before she left office in December 2010. It wasn’t immediately clear why it took so long for King, a Democrat, to declare the case closed.
Herrera suggested the Whistleblower Act be amended by state lawmakers to include stronger penalties for filing false or frivolous complaints under the act.
During the most recent legislative session, Herrera worked for the House Voters and Elections Committee. However, she said she has no plans to run for political office in the future.