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Calling Bullshit ‘Bullshit’

Calling Bullshit ‘Bullshit’

It was widely believed in the anti-testing community that the allegation of PAC violations was brought by Duran at the behest of the administration of Gov. Martinez to punish Korte.

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s office has declared that Stand4KidsNM is not a political action committee and, therefore, did not violate New Mexico law regarding disclosure of political contributions.

Dianna DuranThe group, which has opposed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s standardized testing regime, had been brought up on charges by Republican former Secretary of State Dianna Duran. Duran alleged that the group improperly funneled money into an effort to derail the governor’s testing of New Mexico students.

“The NMSOS Office appreciates your patience in this regard, and regrets any inconvenience this matter may have caused you and to NMStand4Kids,” the Oct. 27 letter from the Secretary of State’s office says.

GovernorThe agreement withthe group  bars its organizer, Kathy Korte, from disparaging the New Mexico Office of the Secretary of State. Korte had previously called the allegation “bullshit.”

The settlement of the case was signed by Mary Quintana, acting secretary of state, who replaced disgraced former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who had brought the case against Korte. Although the state’s letter to Korte calls the group NMStand4Kids, the group’s actual name is Stand4KidsNM.

Duran alleged that the grass-roots organization of parents and teachers opposed to standardized testing, constituted a political action committee because it spent money on t-shirts and placards to protest standardized testing. Duran ruled that Korte failed to follow PAC financing disclosure requirements.

Within months of opposing the governor’s standardized testing regime, Korte lost her job as a community affairs officer at the University of New Mexico Hospital, a state-funded institution, over allegations she texted or tweeted on state time comments against an Albuquerque Public Schools board member who had sided with the Martinez administration.

The governor also endorsed and recorded robocalls on behalf of Korte’s APS board opponent, Peggy Muller-Aragon, an historical first in an APS election. Korte lost her seat on the APS board.

After Korte’s election loss, her husband, Tim Korte, a public information officer for the New Mexico General Services Department, was fired from his job. The family was eventually forced to file for Medicaid benefits.

— Dan Vukelich

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Lex Voytek is a nervous wreck and reading quiets the noise. Reach her at books@freeabq.com.