New Mexico

Santa Fe Mayor Webber’s attempts to remove Kit Carson obelisk hit wall

For months, Santa Fe’s Mayor Alan Webber has been trying to rip down historical landmarks in his city to placate far-left anti-Hispanic hate groups like The Red Nation and Three Sisters Collective, which have applauded the vandalism and destruction of age-old monuments in the Capital City.

On October 12, violent anarchists toppled the 152-year-old obelisk in the heart of the Santa Fe Plaza, while under Mayor Webber’s directive, Police stood by and watched it happen. Police Chief Andrew Padilla defended the Department’s inaction, saying, “The monument, yes, it’s historical, but it’s an object.” 

Now, Mayor Webber has hit a wall with his longtime plans to remove the centuries-old monuments taht cave become a prominent piece of Northern New Mexico cultures and history. 

The 1883 monument to honor Kit Carson erected in front of the Federal Courthouse in Santa Fe is the latest subject of Webber’s path of destruction. However, the Federally owned monument will take more than just Webber’s words to remove. 

In 1973, the Carson statue and the Downtown obelisk were added to the National Register of Historic Places, and are under the protection of the Historic Preservation Act. 

“Due to the historic status of the obelisk and its control by a federal agency, what is called the ‘Section 106’ process would apply to a modification/removal of that obelisk,” said Kristine Mihelcic, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

According to KRQE 13:

The Section 106 process is administered by the National Parks Administration. “Our Attorney is scheduling time with the federal representatives to discuss what the City’s role can be in engaging the Section 106 process,” said Mihelcic.

It is not clear how long the removal process would take or if it will happen at all. 

The restrictions protect the Kit Carson monument. However, violent domestic terrorists may strike once again, this time at the monument sitting in front of the Federal Courthouse.

It is unclear if the Mayor’s Police Chief has an officer watching the monument, or if he will stand back and allow lawless criminals to once again deface or topple it, as they did with the Plaza obelisk. 

A Spanish cultural group is currently considering launching a recall petition to take out Mayor Webber for his dereliction of duty.

Out-of-state ‘eco-left’ corporation acquires PNM Resources after donating thousands to MLG, Dems

On Wednesday, the wind energy company AVANGRID announced it would be acquiring PNM Resources, New Mexico’s largest utility. AVANGRID is the third-largest wind utility company in the U.S. The Spanish Iberdrola, S.A owns the company. 

Some groups are blasting the utility’s acquisition of PNM, saying AVANDRID is an “eco-company based thousands of miles away that doesn’t seem to care about our energy workers,” as Larry Behrens of Power the Future noted.

“We are excited to be part of this transaction that provides so many benefits to our customers, communities, employees and shareholders,” said Pat Vincent-Collawn, chairman, president and CEO of PNM Resources. “Our combined companies provide greater opportunities to invest in the infrastructure and new technologies that will help us navigate our transition to clean energy while maintaining our commitments to our local teams and communities.”

But the move comes after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Democrats took thousands of dollars from the out-of-state conglomerate, with its U.S.-based headquarters in Orange, CT. According to public records on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website, the company donated $1,000 in October to the New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee and directly after the 2018 election, it donated $2,500 to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign.

According to AVANGRID’s press release about the PNM deal, “AVANGRID currently owns 1,900 MW of renewable energy and a pipeline of 1,400 MW of renewables assets in New Mexico and Texas.  In addition, Iberdrola operates a retail business in Texas. For more than 15 years, Iberdrola has also funded the King Felipe VI Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico.” 

The company also noted in its press release their plan to withdraw from the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. “The closure of the generating station will destroy hundreds of jobs and cause revenue losses for New Mexico communities,” notes Power the Future. 

The organization previously noted AVANGRID’s involvement in New Mexico politics in May, raising questions about its donations to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

In 2019, Grisham also took a vacation to Gran Canaria, an island in Las Palma Spain, according to documents obtained through an Inspection of Public Records Act request, showing the Governor had Lt. Gov. Howie Morales serve as acting-Governor while she was out of the country. Iberdrola has multiple service points and locations on the Gran Canaria island. 

It is unclear why anyone lobbied the governor by financing the trip or how much New Mexicans paid for her non-publicized private trip abroad. However, the New Mexico taxpayers paid for her security while she was in Spain.

It is also unclear if there were any joiners on the trip other than her staff and security agents. Could the Governor’s close friend and former business partner New Mexico Rep. Debbie Armstrong have joined the trip as well? 

The documents obtained through the IPRA show receipts from Madrid and Gran Canaria, the pay stub to Lt. Gov Morales, showing he was acting in Luajn Grusham’s stead, as well as the Governor’s calendar showing she was gone through

In 2015, PNM opened a wind farm in Cibola County, which appears to be the wind farm Gov. Lujan Grisham shot her 2018 “Turbine” ad, where she touted her “green energy” proposals while running for governor. AVANGRID has a wind farm called “El Cabo” in Torrence County. 

In 2019, NPR noted wind energy’s issue with turbine blades going to the landfill, negating the supposed “green” value of the energy source. Millions of birds and bats also face their demise each year due to the turbines.

MLG calls karaoke and bingo ‘high-risk activities’ during COVID-19 news conference

On Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced more COVID-19 restrictions during her weekly news conference, including required spot-testing workers for restaurants, keeping a three-week log of all customers for contact tracing, a curfew by 10:00 p.m. daily, and a mandated online certification by October 30.

Previously, during her September 24 COVID-19 update, Lujan Grisham raised eyebrows when she said that “cornhole tournaments” are a “high-risk” activity. She doubled down on her latest presser, this time adding in bingo and karaoke as “high-risk.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham says “cornhole tournaments” are a “super spreader” activity that causes COVID-19 spread during her September 24 news conference.

“We got a report in a community about karaoke and bingo. These are high-risk activities that have created spread,” said Lujan Grisham. She added, “COVID will never be over. The virus will always live among us.” 

“COVID will never be over” – ⁦@GovMLG during coronavirus press conference

The newest restrictions are the beginning of a backward jump on opening up the state. She has repeatedly claimed to care about New Mexico’s economy, however, her actions to clamp down on citizens’ everyday activities shows she is willing to hurt businesses in order to fulfill her agenda. 

Big box stores like Walmart and Costco are still allowed to operate with few restrictions, while restaurants and houses of worship have strict mandates. 

NM GOP and Trump Victory reach historic milestone with 2.7 million voter contacts

On Monday, the Republican Party of New Mexico and the Trump Victory team announced that they had hit a historic milestone this election cycle, with over 2.7 million voter contacts in the state, which is “the largest effort in the history of the GOP in New Mexico,” the release said.

The Party said that since the 2020 campaign cycle had begun, the Republican Party’s partnership with Trump Victory resulted in more than 767,000 doors knocked, two million phone calls made, with over 1,400 volunteers phone banking and doork-knocking across the state. “Hundreds more volunteers are working around the clock to re-elect President Trump and turn the Roundhouse red,” the Party. 

“NM Trump Victory has had more than 14,000 volunteer engagement events in New Mexico. All of these efforts and a unified Republican message have led to more than 30,000 newly registered Republicans in New Mexico.” 

“The push to turn New Mexico red is the largest effort in the history of the GOP in New Mexico. NM Trump Victory and RPNM have created a massive statewide infrastructure that’s unprecedented in the state. The energized GOP campaign includes personal contacts, phone banking, TV, radio and digital ads and billboards, as well as other campaign and candidate outreach.” 

Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce said, “This massive statewide effort and these impressive numbers not only demonstrate the drive and commitment of the Trump Campaign and RPNM this election, but also the understanding of how important it is to turn New Mexico red in 2020,” adding, “We are on a mission to win. Our teams and staff are making history in an unprecedented effort to re-elect President Trump and Republicans down ballot across the state. The President’s leadership, accomplishments and love of our country will continue to move America forward.”

The massive volunteer efforts to turn New Mexico Red have clearly garnered much success, with increased voter turnout this election. According to Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover, 12,814 people early voted in Albuquerque on Saturday alone. Many times, people waited in long lines to cast their ballots. 

Another indicator of Democrats fearing a win for President Trump and Republicans in New Mexico is the increased vandalism of political signs, with one individual even having their young horse shot dead in a possible politically motivated attack. 

Republicans have many pickup opportunities, both in Congressional races and state legislative races, where far-left Speaker of the House Brian Egolf is dumping money from his Speaker Fund into many contentious contests. President Donald Trump has set his eyes on New Mexico and its five electoral votes this election, saying the Land of Enchantment is “a state I think we can win.”

Unknown suspect shoots Trump supporters’ horse in possible politically charged attack

On the evening of October 7th, Gale and Marietta Shell, who live about five miles north of Springer, in Colfax County, discovered their young horse had been shot dead sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. 

Photograph of the filly that was shot and killed.

Their property, which faces I-25, and has a large display of pro-Trump flags on large flag poles, could have been a target due to their outspoken support for President Donald Trump and could be a possible reason why their property was targeted.

Photographs of the Shells’ property and their multiple signs and flags in support of President Donald Trump.

According to Marietta Shell, the corral fence where the young filly, which is valued at $4,500, was located was not visible from the highway, and the culprit would have had to stop to take the shot. She says that there is just a certain window where the killer could have positioned to shoot the horse dead, according to the Shells’ neighbors and children. 

Views of the property from the highway, with a neighbor standing in the place where the filly was shot.

Mrs. Shell explained that they could not find a bullet or casing to identify the type of gun that shot the filly, but she believes the bullet may have hit the horse’s flank or lung area, which killed her instantly since she did not bleed out.

The incident was reported to the Colfax County Sheriff’s Department and the Livestock Board. The Sheriff and livestock inspector had filed reports on the matter. There have been no known developments in the case. 

Gale and Marietta Shell have been in the horse business for over 50 years, and they have never had a horse shot before. Due to Mr. Shell’s medical conditions, being around the horses serves as a therapy for him, but Mrs. Shell says, “This type of thing is so hard for him because he is really really attached to the horses.”

“It was just absolutely heartbreaking.” They “always had horses and It’s the best therapy in the world for my husband,” she said.

The possible politically motivated attack comes just weeks before the November 3, 2020 election, and as hundreds of Trump supporters across New Mexico have had their signs vandalized or stolen. The Piñon Post has extensively covered the vandalism of private property, specifically political signs. 

If anyone may have further information on the matter, they should report it to the Colfax County Sheriff’s Department at (575) 445-5561

75% of Xochitl Torres Small’s 3rd Quarter campaign funds came from out-of-state, $544k from DC alone

On Friday, initial Federal Election Commission numbers for Quarter Three (Q3) were published, and Rep. Xochitl Torres Small from New Mexico’s Second Congressional District raised approximately $2.4 million, with a vast majority of contributions coming from out-of-state. mostly out-of-state donations. 

Out-of-state contributions made up 75.65% of Torres Small’s Q3, with  $1,833,143.25, and in-state contributions only made up $590,109.60 or 24.35%. $380,761.27 came from California, $184,266.58 from New York, and $544,441.03 from Washington, D.C., and $73,195.27 from Illinois. 

PAC donations made up $644,285.69 of Torres Small’s Q3 war chest. Approximately $45,000 came from professors and university staff, including over $2,500 from Yale University professors, $1,200 from Harvard University professors, $500 from Stanford University staff, and $250 from Cornell University staff. Attorneys made up $117,240.59 of Torres Small’s Q3 donations, while those with the title of “consultant” made up $47,738.32.

The “Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee” gave Torres Small  $7,700 in Q3 contributions, pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood topped off their previous donations, adding $578.46, pro-abortion group NARAL donated  $4,559.56 and EMILY’s List pro-abortion group gave $72,364.49. Radical pro-abortion groups Environmental Defense Fund and League of Conservation Voters donated $2,000 and $1,500 respectively. 

Support from other Democrats’ congressional funds also poured into Torres Small’s campaign account. 

During Torres Small’s campaign, she has stressed in her multiple advertisements her “New Mexico Values,” but her campaign contributions paint another picture, with mainly elite out-of-state donors funding her campaign, many of them being D.C. lawyers, Harvard and Yale professors, and dark money groups, such as EMILY’s List, which has dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars in Torres Small’s coffers.

In contrast, Torres Small’s opponent, Republican Yvette Herrell, raised $1,066,205.32 according to initial Q3 filings, with $451,093, or 42.3% of donations originating in the state, nearly double that of Torres Small. Herrell got help from conservative Republican Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, whose victory committee gave her $73,200, the pro-life group Susan B. Anthonly List with $5,000, the pro-gun National Rifle Association of America Victory Fund with $5,000, and $5,000 from conservative Republican Rep. Jim Jordan’s House Freedom Fund to name a few. 

The final FEC reports are not available to the public yet, but this article will be updated with the total numbers once they are accessible.

Ronchetti outraises Luján in 3rd Quarter

On Friday, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti announced that his campaign had outraised Democrat nominee Ben Ray Luján in the third fundraising quarter.

Ronchetti’s campaign said in a presser that the Albuquerque Republican “raised more money in the 3rd Quarter than Ben Ray Lujan’s out-of-state funded campaign. Ronchetti’s campaign raised 85% of their Q3 funds from New Mexico, while Ben Ray only raised 25% of his Q3 funds from New Mexico. Despite their out-of-state money flow, the Lujan campaign raised less money than the Ronchetti campaign in Q3.” 

“I’m proud of our campaign focusing on New Mexico and humbled by the support that has poured in from across our state,” said Ronchetti. “I’m running to put New Mexico first, not special interests from D.C. and California.”

“Mark outraising 12-year Congressman Lujan and his out-of-state money [show] the power of the people of New Mexico. Mark is continuing to put the people of New Mexico over the politics of D.C., with 85% of campaign donations coming from New Mexican donors,” said Ronchetti’s Campaign Manager, Jeff Glassburner. 

“Meanwhile, only 25% of Ben Ray Lujan’s money in the third quarter came from New Mexico. Mark is running a grassroots campaign on the issues important to the people of New Mexico, while Ben Ray’s campaign is funded by out-of-state liberals and continues to rake in special interest D.C. PAC money.”

According to the filings on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) website, Ronchetti raised $1.8 million and Luján raised $1.59 million in Q3.

Ronchetti’s fundraising numbers were bolstered by $44,000 in conduit contributions from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, $4,950 from the pro-gun National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $5,000 from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s “Huck PAC,” and other issue-based groups. 

Luján’s contributors include the pro-abortion groups NARAL and Washington Women for Choice, who gave $250 and $5,000 respectively, the pro-“Green New Deal” League of Conservation Voters with $3,650, and billionaire Tom Steyer with $2,800.

Freshman Rep. Deb Haaland running for No. 6 Democrat leadership spot in 117th Congress

On Thursday, Roll Call announced that Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives would be holding leadership elections for their party roles on November 18-19, following the November 3 election.

Since current U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is running for the U.S. Senate, his “Assistant Speaker” position is up for grabs, and many Democrats are vying for it. Current Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC Chairman Tony Cárdenas of California are all competing for the spot.

Since Clark is running for Luján’s position, she will be vacating her No. 6 caucus vice chair spot. Pete Aguilar of California, Robin Kelly of Illinois, and New Mexico’s very own first-term Rep. Deb Haaland are running for the seat, despite only sitting in the U.S. House for one short two-year term.

Previously, Haaland was considering the run for the vice-chair position but had not made up her mind. Now, it’s official. Her greatest challenger in the race will likely be Rep. Aguilar, who held the spot in the 115th Congress before being beaten for the post in the 116th Congress by Rep. Katherine M. Clark. The top three Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, are running uncontested for another term.

Haaland’s move to run for the leadership position signals that she is confident in her re-election campaign, despite a competitive contest with Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes, who just debated Haaland last week. 

During the debate, Haaland made multiple misleading or false statements, most notably about her support for Antifa, her “bipartisan” work in Congress, and her voting record. The fact-check can be found here

Haaland supports socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, a fracking ban, abortion up-to-birth, open borders, seizure of many privately owned firearms, among other far-left proposals. 

Anarchists desecrate Cross of the Martyrs in Santa Fe

On Wednesday, citizens of Santa Fe began posting on Facebook photographs showing the Cross of the Martyrs in Santa Fe had been desecrated, with the words “LAND BACK” emblazoned with spray paint on the stone next to the cross. The cross was built to honor the legacy of 21 Franciscan friars who were brutally murdered during Popé’s rebellion in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. During the bloody revolt, a total of 400 people were killed.

Thomas Baca Gutierrez, a former President of the Caballeros De Vargas wrote on Facebook with a photograph of the vandalism, “It’s time to stand up and fight for our religion and culture. These people are causing genocide to the Hispanic community and our religion. The Red Nation and Three sister collective are hate groups and should be labeled as such.” 

Amber Espinoza-Trujillo, wife of former Santa Fe City Councilor Ron Trujillo wrote on Facebook, “After Councilor Renee Villarael and Mayor Alan Webber opened the Floodgates of Hate! Now many police are allowed to be guarding the Plaza? Ya paque? You already allowed the destruction! Now the Cross of the Martyrs has been tagged twice.” 

Vincent Torres of the Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico wrote on his timeline, “Deeply saddened to see this beautiful place — where I gather monthly with Hispanic, Native American, and Caucasian pastors — vandalized. Paint cannot, however, eradicate our unity or keep us from faithfully praying over Santa Fe and reclaiming it as the ‘City of Holy Faith.’ We clean up and we keep praying.” 

The memorial’s desecration comes days after the obelisk sitting in the heart of the Santa Fe Plaza had been toppled on Christopher Columbus Day by anarchists, while the Santa Fe Police Department allowed the destruction. Mayor Alan Webber and Police Chief Andrew Padilla defended their inaction, with Padilla saying, “The monument, yes, it’s historical, but it’s an object.” 

The apparent free reign granted by Padilla and Webber to destroy property most likely led to the vandalism of the Cross of the Martyrs, possibly initiated by radical groups The Three Sisters and The Red Nation, which have lauded the desecration of public property in the past. 

Webber has not yet released a statement on the Cross of the Martyrs desecration, however, on Wednesday the Santa Fe City Council “resolved to move forward with plans for a commission to examine long-standing inequities in the community and the history of colonization in Northern New Mexico,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican

The landmark has repeatedly been vandalized over the years, usually on Indian Market Weekend. A petition has been started to remove Mayor Webber for “disregard towards Santa Fe and it’s rich history by his actions in office.”

Bipartisan ethics panel letter: State Sen. Steinborn ‘very likely’ engaged in sexual harassment

In May of 2018, a lobbyist for Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM), Laura Bonar, accused then-New Mexico state Rep. Carl Trujillo, a Santa Fe area legislator of sexual harassment. In her open letter sent to the press, she alleged that Trujillo touched her inappropriately. Trujillo vehemently denied the allegations. 

The letter dropped during the 2018 Democratic primary election, where a staunch abortion advocate, Andrea Romero, was challenging the more moderate Rep. Trujillo for the seat. 

Directly after Bonar’s public letter hit, the Democrat Party of New Mexico blasted Trujillo, with Chairwoman Marg Ellison saying, “We’re very disappointed that Rep. Trujillo’s initial response is to accuse the victim of lies.” 

Julianna Koob, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico, allegedly organized hundreds of phone calls made to voters in the district spreading the accusations. Jessica Johnson and Elizabeth Jennings of APNM also spread these accusations in their respective capacities. 

Despite any formal investigation request submission by Bonar, the claims prompted Democrat Speaker of the House Brian Egolf to begin an inquiry by the Legislative Ethics Subcommittee. 

The Subcommittee took up the seemingly politically motivated case. However, by the time the matter came before the body, Bonar’s accusations had sunk Trujillo’s re-election bid, handing the Democratic nomination to Romero. 

Trujillo offered to provide whatever necessary information and documentation to the Subcommittee to clear his name, including taking a lie detector test and submitting any documentary evidence requested to resolve the matter. The Subcommittee did a thorough investigation, which yielded a 43-page report.

The attorney hired on-contract by the Legislative Council Service to oversee the process. Tom Hnasko has represented Speaker of the House Brian Egolf before. He has also donated to Egolf’s “Brian Egolf Speaker Fund.” According to the Subcommittee, Hnasco engaged in possible “unethical” conduct by not bringing forth testimony revealing other potential misconduct by another legislator in front of the panel. 

The Subcommittee later cleared Trujillo of all wrongdoing after Bonar refused to testify under oath to the claims and “broadly objected to producing records and information directly relevant to her claims of sexual harassment against Representative Trujillo.”

Now, according to a February 26, 2019 letter obtained by the Piñon Post, during the time of the inquiry into Rep. Trujillo, the Subcommittee unearthed another possible instance of sexual harassment against Ms. Bonar, this time a different legislator who “very likely engaged in” the sexual act.

During the depositions of Elizabeth Jennings, executive director of APNM and Animal Protection Voters (APV), Daniel Abram, human resources director for APNM, and Ms. Bonar herself, the Legislative Ethics Subcommittee found that then-state Rep., now-state Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces), had allegedly engaged in an incident of sexual harassment “sometime in 2014,” where Steinborn was said to have grabbed Ms. Bonar’s face in a hallway.

The details from Ms. Bonar’s June 7, 2018 deposition by Tom Hnasko read as follows: 

Pages 45 – 47:

“[I] was standing in the hallway, outside a committee room, and a legislator came out of the bathroom” — “he gave me a hug, someone I know” — “He put his hand on my face and just sort of held my face. It was a really weird, uncomfortable moment. I was cornered, and he just kind of kept saying my name and looking at me.” 

“Q. Abusive, right? 

“A. …This other legislator, yes, I mean, he’s in a position of power—the way it happened in front of other people, other people that thought something was going on. It was… . I had disgusting comments made to me by staff. 

Page 49:

“[It] felt abusive” (the holding of the face) and “the impact on me was extremely negative.” 

Ms. Elizabeth Jennings’ November 5, 2018 deposition by Rep. Trujillo’s attorney reads as follows:

Page 66

“Q. (By Mr. Loman [attorney for Mr. Trujillo]) Well, let me ask you, was there some other incident of sexual harassment that was going on around the same time that Mr. Abram would have been taking notes for? [Mr. Abram is the human resources director for APNM]

“A. Laura did say something else about another incident, and it was unrelated to the Carl Trujillo incident.

Page 67: 

“Q. She reported that she was sexually harassed by another person? 

“A. Yes.

“Q. Another legislator? 

“A. Yes.

“Q. Okay. Was that during this March 16th Meeting? 

“A. Yes.

“Q. Okay. And who was that? What did she tell you?

“A. I’d prefer not to answer that.

“Q. Okay. Based on what?

“A. It’s not my story to tell.

“Q. Okay. What was it that she told you, then?

“A. I’d prefer not to answer that.

“Q. Okay, so at some point around the same time Laura told you that she was sexually harassed by another legislator, and you’re refusing to tell me what she told you and who the legislator was; is that true? Do I have all that correct? 

“A. I’d prefer not to answer, yes.” 

Page 69:

“Q. [by Mr. Loman] …Okay. Whatever this other incident was, with whomever it was, why did Ms. Bonar write an open letter about Carl Trujillo this year and not about this other person? 

“A. I don’t know.

“Q. Okay. has Ms. Bonar ever told you about any other incidents where she felt like she was sexually harassed in any other way than what we’ve talked about with Carl Trujillo and whatever’s redacted here?

“A. No. I don’t remember anything else. 

“Q. Okay, when did this other incident occur? What year?

“A. I don’t know.

“Q. [Referring to a note being consulted during the deposition] Over on the side — and I’m going to reach across and point it out to you–I can make out 2014 in that bit that’s redacted [but still legible]. Was she telling you this happened–the other incident occurred in 2014? 

“A. I don’t know, but certainly it’s plausible since there’s a date there. I honestly don’t remember.

“Q. Okay. Then going down, we have more notes that are not redacted. It says, “Most concerned about Carl,” and it says here, “Was not interested in an apology.” So now we’re talking about multiple incidents.”

Mr. Abram’s notes regarding the matter read as follows:

“Steinborn INCIDENT


“Steinborn outside house majority office

“15 to 20 lobbyists standing around

“Grabbed my face and kept saying my name

“‘did that in front of other people intentionally to make them feel something was going on between us’

“I wanted to talk to Steinborn and say ‘that really wasn’t cool’

“Did not end up doing that [-] still during session & got the feeling it wouldn’t be perceived as helpful to our work”

The letter from the members of the Legislative Ethics Subcommittee reads:

“Taken together, these statements indicate that Ms. Bonar communicated to Elizabeth Jennings and/or Daniel Abram that she [Bonar] was sexually harassed by Representative Steinborn sometime in 2014.”

The depositions were included in the document, signed by seven of the eight legislators on the Subcommittee, excluding Rep. Joanne Ferrary (D-Las Cruces), recommending further action be taken to investigate the allegations against Steinborn. 

The Subcommittee then recommended: 

The above material was redacted and withheld from the Subcommittee, presumably at Mr. Hnasko’s or Legislative Council Service’s direction. 

Concerned about the references in the depositions to a sexual harassment incident involving a legislator named “Jeff” and the “Steinborn INCIDENT” heading in Mr. Abram’s notes, several Subcommittee members exercised due diligence and requested an opportunity to see the original, unredacted transcript of Laura Bonar interview. The members who viewed the transcript at Legislative Council Service were not allowed to have or make a copy of the Bonar interview, so one member took brief notes. The material cited above is thus approximate, not precisely verbatim. There appears to be a discrepancy about the “Steinborn incident”—e.g., whether it happened outside a committee room or outside the majority office. Perhaps there were multiple episodes? 

Under all of the circumstances outlined above, we believe we have an obligation not to ignore the testimony of Elizabeth Jennings, Daniel Abram, and Laura Bonar. We recommend that the Legislative Council Service begin the process of investigating the Jeff Steinborn incident. We further recommend that the LCS not involve Mr. Tom Hnasko in this inquiry, as his decision to withhold certain information from the Subcommittee is problematic and was possibly unethical. 

The legislators who responded to the Piñon Post’s request for comment declined to opine on the letter itself, citing state statute. 

One legislator wrote, “As much as I would like to answer your questions, I am afraid I am not at liberty to do so.  The law ‘prohibits [a] subcommittee and its staff from disclosing any information relating to [an] investigation’ (as per Raul Burciaga, Director, Legislative Council Service). I have a solemn duty of confidentiality and must abide by it.”

The New Mexico House and Senate leadership (with Republican members outnumbered 3:2) held a split vote, which resulted in no further action being taken on the case on a party-line vote. This has been confirmed by multiple sources involved in the leadership vote, and it was indeed split, not unanimous. One legislator involved in the vote disclosed that the motion “did not have sufficient support to move forward.”

Although there are depositions, notes, and other evidence obtained during the initial Legislative Ethics Subcommittee inquiry into Steinborn’s potential involvement in sexual harassment against Bonar, her attorney, Levi Monagle, told the Piñon Post that Bonar contends she was only harassed by Rep. Trujillo and another legislator, who she did not name, but has since passed away.

Ms. Bonar’s attorney provided us with the following statement:

While Laura and many other lobbyists, staffers, legislators and citizens have had encounters at the Roundhouse that were inappropriate or unsettling in one way or another, Laura can (and does) authoritatively state that she was never sexually harassed by Jeff Steinborn. There was an incident discussed in the prior investigations where Laura was sexually harassed by another legislator besides Carl Trujillo, but that legislator was not Jeff Steinborn. That legislator is deceased, and Laura has no interest in speaking ill of the dead.

In 2018, Laura and her coworkers at APVNM took a strong stance against sexual harassment at the Roundhouse. Insofar as Carl Trujillo was a staunch supporter of the animal protection cause, Laura and her coworkers took their stance against their organization’s own political interests. They took a brave and principled stand knowing that they would suffer consequences for it – and they did indeed suffer consequences for it. Standing up to Carl Trujillo was a very difficult chapter for Laura and her coworkers and they are not interested in rehashing it.

When requesting clarity on the statement, Ms. Bonar’s attorney replied, “Ms. Bonar is stating that Jeff Steinborn never sexually harassed her in any way.”

The documentation from the depositions all appears to point to the same incident, where then-Rep. Jeff Steinborn allegedly grabbed Ms. Bonar’s face in a hallway. Although Ms. Bonar contends that the perpetrator is now deceased, questions still remain as to why Jeff Steinborn’s name was written in Mr. Abram’s notes–the same notes that detail a similar incident recounted in Ms. Bonar’s 2018 deposition.

In November, Sen. Jeff Steinborn is up for re-election, facing off against Republican nominee Kimberly Skaggs in the 36th Senate District. He has been rated as an “Animal Protection Champion” by Animal Protection Voters as recently as 2019. Steinborn has not yet returned the Piñon Post’s requests for comment.

UPDATE: October 15, 2020, 7:00 P.M. MST: Senator Steinborn provided the Piñon Post with the following statement, as well as a letter he received from the Legislative Ethics Subcommittee regarding their dismissal of the previous recommendation.

I have great respect for the professional boundaries that must be maintained by all people. I firmly believe that women deserve to be heard and that reports of misconduct should be taken seriously and investigated by the appropriate parties. 

I can say, unequivocally, that I have not sexually harassed anyone. I appreciate Ms. Bonar immediately releasing a statement through her attorney stating that “Jeff Steinborn never sexually harassed her [Ms. Bonar] in any way.” Ms. Bonar’s statement confirmed the results of an independent investigation, conducted by outside counsel, and unanimously approved by the bi-partisan Senate leadership, that no further investigation or action was needed. 

It is disappointing that a serious issue like this be deliberately mischaracterized and distorted by political operatives for the sake of a headline.

Editor’s Note: The Piñon Post is proud of our objective reporting on this matter of legitimate public concern. Before publication, all parties involved were afforded multiple opportunities to provide comments. Those who did provide comments had their statements published in their entirety. Through this report, we are glad to have provided New Mexicans with a greater understanding of the situation to let them form conclusions based on the facts, not political rhetoric.

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