Campaign Manager Indicted in Growing Email Scandal in New Mexico

Photo Credit: Weekly Standard

A former campaign manager for New Mexico governor Susana Martinez was indicted in federal court Thursday on 12 counts of illegally intercepting emails intended for members of Martinez’s 2010 campaign, including some sent to Martinez herself. Now, some are questioning whether the current Democratic attorney general (and a potential opponent for Martinez in the Republican’s reelection bid next year) and a liberal activist connected to Bill Richardson, Martinez’s Democratic predecessor, were involved in the distribution of some of those illegally obtained emails.

Jamie Estrada, who first joined the Martinez’s campaign staff in July 2009, was fired in December of that same year for, among other reasons, accessing Martinez’s personal email, a New Mexico Republican tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Estrada later failed to win an appointment in the new Martinez administration in 2011. According to the indictment, Estrada was contacted in July 2011 by a member of the Martinez campaign requesting a username and password to the campaign’s Internet domain,, for the purposes of renewing the domain contract. Estrada reportedly refused to provide the information and, as a federal investigation later found, used the information to renew the domain himself under a false name, even while the Martinez campaign had exclusive rights to renew the contract.

After renewing the domain, Estrada altered the settings so that incoming emails sent to addresses (that is, to former Martinez campaign staffers) were redirected to a Gmail account Estrada had created. The intended recipients of those emails, which included Martinez, never received those emails. Many of these contained private, sometimes sensitive information: receipts from Martinez’s purchases of songs on iTunes, a staffer’s bank statement, and confirmation of an online purchase by Martinez of several pairs of underwear.

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