While leaked emails to SFR and other media outlets provide a window into attorney Pat Rogers' influence in the governor's office, some also show his penchant for firing off scathing political wisecracks.
In the fall of 2011, the Public Regulation Commission was going through a rough transition. Jerome Block Jr., the disgraced commissioner convicted of violations of campaign finance law and embezzlement, had been ousted from the PRC, and Hector Balderas, a Democrat, was conducting an audit of the PRC that would eventually conclude that Pat Lyons, a Republican, had misused a state vehicle. The commission votes each January on its leadership, and Lyons’ ability to remain chair didn’t look good. (Indeed, in January 2012, Balderas would call for Lyons’ resignation.)
On Nov. 7, after Gov. Susana Martinez named international utility consultant Douglas Howe as Block’s replacement, Rogers forwarded an article about Howe’s appointment to Ryan Cangiolosi, the governor's deputy chief of staff, and Jay McCleskey, the governor's political adviser.
“He promised on his boyfriend’s grave he would support Pat Lyons for Chair, right?” Rogers’ email reads.
“If these emails are genuine, that’s utterly false,” Howe tells SFR.
“During the vetting process, I think one of the very last questions the governor’s office asked me is whether I would challenge Commissioner Lyons…” he says. “What I answered was that I wouldn’t promise not to do that—but I thought it was unlikely that I would given that I’d be coming in as a rookie not knowing anything about the internal management of the PRC.”
Howe adds that he thought it was important that the beleaguered agency have a continuity in leadership and that Lyons authored the PRC's management improvement plan. In January, the commissioners, Howe included, voted unanimously to reinstate Lyons as chairman.
Another email to the private accounts of the governor's chief of staff, Keith Gardner, Ryan Feldman, Cangiolosi, McCleskey and Martinez’ legal counsel Jessica Hernandez, shows disdain for Albuquerque attorney John Boyd, who served on the state’s Public Employee Labor Relations Board until June 30. During the height of the national debate to raise the debt ceiling last summer, Boyd wrote an op-ed calling for raising taxes on the rich.
“This man is dangerous,” Rogers’ Aug. 9 email reads. “Consider filing a Section 12-4-3 complaint.”
He was referring to an obscure New Mexico statute from the 1950s that allows the state to fire, fine or imprison Communist employees.
That same day, Feldman wrote back to Rogers that the governor’s office “had already tried removing him once, got sued and lost.”
“He was replaced,” Feldman wrote. “But we have been sued for replacing him. Will let you know how it goes.”
Boyd, for his part, says he and Rogers have often opposed each other in court.
Feldman was likely referring to Martinez' February 2011 firing of members on the PELRB. By the next month, labor unions asked the state Supreme Court to reinstate the board, arguing that Martinez had abused her power. By April, the court ordered Martinez to reinstate two members, including Boyd.
But earlier this year, multiple unions recommended Boyd be appointed to another term. When Martinez picked retired Clovis Deputy Police Chief Roger Bartosiewicz instead, unions protested again, but the high court ultimately sided with the governor.
“I think this is just politics,” Boyd, referring to the emails, tells SFR. “I’m flattered that Pat Rogers would call me a dangerous man.”