AG’s office: Gov.’s helicopter use justified

SANTA FE (KRQE) – The Attorney General’s office says it looked into the governor’s use of the state helicopter to get her to a political event and says no laws were broken, but she might think about paying taxpayers back.

Gov. Susana Martinez used the helicopter in November of 2011 to get to the Sunport where she then got on a commercial flight to Texas for a governor’s association fundraising event.

A spokesman for the governor says a state board of finance meeting ran late, making Martinez late for her commercial flight. That’s when the state police helicopter was summoned.

In a letter, the AG’s office says while the use of the chopper did provide a personal or political benefit to the governor, there is a plausible official purpose identified for the action, and there is no reason for further investigation.

But the letter went on to say that it would be highly appropriate for Martinez’s campaign to pay taxpayers the $800 it cost to operate the helicopter that day.

This letter comes from Attorney General Gary King’s office, and he is running for governor.

When asked if the governor for a response, her spokesperson said in part, “this was just one more baseless attack. Gov. Martinez sold five of the state’s airplanes and has used the GSD aircraft 10 times less than the previous administration.”

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