- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - State records show New Mexico taxpayers have spent more than $27,000 on out-of-state travel expenses for Gov. Susana Martinez, her staff and security during the first three months of the year.

Some of the trips were for meetings of the Republican Governors Association in February and March. Martinez was elected vice chairman of that group late last year.

There was also a trip to Fort Hood, Texas, to see New Mexico National Guard soldiers as they departed for the Middle East, and two trips to Chihuahua, Mexico - one for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new highway and the other for a border commission meeting.

Martinez on Tuesday will be wrapping up a trip of several days with New Mexico Amigos, a private group of business leaders that promotes the state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Monday (https://bit.ly/1GYFT7I ) that for the first three months of the year, most of the travel costs involved lodging, food and transportation for the state police officers assigned to protect the governor.

Typically, groups that invite Martinez to out-of-state functions pay for most of her personal traveling costs, but the state pays for staff members and officers who travel with her.

The records on the February and March trips provided by the state Department of Finance and Administration showed that the state paid a total of $2,651 for the governor and her staff and nearly 10 times that amount - $25,189 - for her security detail.

Almost all of those costs are for the governor’s State Police detail, which she is required to have, said Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez.

Administration policy states for the safety of the governor and her staff, actual receipts or vouchers weren’t included in Martinez’s monthly expense reports.

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has argued those are public records that people should be able to have access to them.

It’s not unusual for taxpayer dollars to fund travel for security, such as when then-Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, traveled to promote Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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