A leaked email in which Pat Rogers joked the governor "dishonored" Col. George Armstrong Custer by meeting with Native American leaders might not be the power lawyer's last stand, but it's put him and fellow Republicans in an uncomfortable spotlight again.
It wasn't his first crass email.
On September 3, 2011, Rogers forwarded this article
to the private accounts of top gubernatorial officials about a state
police officer being terminated after being photographed having sex on
the hood of a car.
"First the corrections secretary and now this? Is this just a problem of the Governor's office trying to discourage heterosexual relationships," Rogers joked in an email SFR obtained from the left-leaning Independent Source PAC. "A little too long in SF? Couldn't you find some non-heterosexuals to fire?
"I am thinking the ACLU/Maldef is going to get pretty interested in this blatant discrimination," he added, in apparent reference to the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund.
Rogers sent the email to the governor's chief of staff Keith Gardner; her deputy chief of staff Ryan Cangiolosi, her spokesman Scott Darnell; Adam Feldman, formerly the governor’s director of boards and commission; and Jay McCleskey, the governor's political adviser, who is not a state employee.
Rogers also once asked top gubernatorial officials whether an appointee to the Public Regulations Commission, Douglas Howe, had "promised on his boyfriend’s grave" that Howe would vote for Pat Lyons, a Republican, for chair of the PRC.
Yet it's the Rogers Custer email that's attracting international attention. Indian Country Today Media Network picked up the story. So did gossip and politics site Gawker.com and the British rag the Daily Mail.
In the email, Rogers joked that the "state is going to hell."
"Quislings, French surrender monkeys, secret supporters (all along) of [Janice Arnold Jones]," the Republican National Committee member wrote in an June 8 email to Jessica Hernandez and Paul Kennedy, who have been the governor's attorneys. Rogers copied Gardner, Cangiolosi and McCleskey on the email as well.
"Col. Weh would not have dishonored Col. Custer in this manner," Rogers added in the email, referring to the governor's primary opponent, Allen Weh, a retired Col. with the Marine Corps. Rogers, who also represents several corporate clients like Verizon Corporation in his lobbying practice at Modrall Sperling, had forwarded a link to an Associated Press article reporting Gov. Martinez's meeting in Mescalero with the state's tribal
All Indian Pueblo Council Chairman Chandler Sanchez told the Albuquerque Journal that Rogers should be removed from his RNC post.
"His statement that Custer is some kind of hero demanding deference is offensive. We have come a long way in demanding racial tolerance and acceptance in the 21st century. But remarks and statements like those written by attorney Pat Rogers sadly make you wonder if the Republican Party and those who represent Governor Martinez share his views and attitude toward the Native populations of this state."
Others, like Kennedy, are less certain the email warrants Rogers being booted from his RNC post.
"He apologized," Kennedy says of Rogers, who recently stepped down from the New Mexico Foundation of Open Government after revelations that he was communicating with top government officials on their private email accounts.
A prominent GOP attorney whose name has been in the hat to fill a vacancy in the state Supreme Court, Kennedy tells SFR he has "no recollection" of receiving the email.
"I think the only comment I would have that it was just a lame attempt at humor that fell flat," Kennedy says.
Rogers told the Albuquerque Journal the email was a poor attempt at humor being twisted by a partisan group, the left-leaning nonprofit Progress Now New Mexico, which released the email and called for his resignation.
Joe Monahan, a local politics writer, wonders how "much more 'humor'" state Republicans are going to accommodate from Rogers.
"In the age of [Missouri Rep. Todd] Akin," he writes, "Pat's disturbing pattern of poking 'fun' at Native Americans, gays and Hispanics isn't helping the GOP cause to broaden their party's base."