In Case You Missed It
Tim Keller Blasted in Multiple Editorials
Albuquerque, NM– The more we learn about State Auditor Tim Keller, the more we see he is a shameless hypocritical politician who believes there are two sets of rules — one for him and another for the everyone else.
We recently learned that Keller is involved in a federal lawsuit where a whistle-blower is alleging that Keller illegally used his position as State Senator to secure lucrative contracts with gaming tribes and then turned around and abused his power to aid his private clients. Now, we see that Keller is using private emails for official business – something he has previously been critical of.
Again, the more we learn about Tim Keller the more we see this web of fraud taking place in the State Auditor’s Office.
Editorial: Auditor enters email swamp
The Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board
August 10, 2015
How many times do government officials have to learn this lesson? Don’t use private email accounts for government business.
The latest elected official to break what by now should be a no-brainer of a rule is State Auditor Tim Keller, who has been using a private Gmail account for some state business – although to his credit he doesn’t dispute that communications in that account are subject to the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act.
The account was set up after he was elected in November and before he had access to an official state government account. That’s just fine. But once he took office and had an official state account, the private email account should have been cut off from state business and the name, auditorkeller@gmail, changed because it gives the impression it is a government account. But Keller, a vocal advocate for transparency in government, kept using it for state work.
Keller is not the first official to be tripped up by private emails. Democratic frontrunner for president, Hillary Clinton, continues to draw fire over her use of a private email account for government business when she was secretary of state. At this point, she’s been reduced to saying the government probe into the practice isn’t technically a criminal investigation.
That is how it should be. And while Keller’s camp contends his private account was always considered official and public, using it gives the opposite impression. Keller should simply say it was a bad call and stop using it.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.
Editorial: Auditor Keller should stop using Gmail for public business
By: Heath Haussaman
August 12th, 2015
He has an MBA from Harvard. His background is as an investment banker, manager, and financial adviser. He should realize the importance of systems that provide accountability. He should seek to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. He should understand the need to follow best practices that support those goals.
And yet, the auditor, who is tasked with watchdogging local and state government agencies in New Mexico, has been using a nongovernmental, Gmail account to do some of that work.
It’s legal. But it’s not a best practice from an ethics and transparency standpoint. You can delete emails you don’t want the public seeing if you’re using a private account. We have no way of knowing.
With a governmental account, there are stronger checks in place to ensure you’re not illegally deleting emails the public has a right to see.
So using a private account – especially when you also have a government email account, as Keller does – creates the appearance that you are trying to hide something.
Keller has an explanation for why it’s OK that he does something he criticized Martinez for doing: He’s well-intentioned. He released messages from the Gmail account in response to a records request from the state GOP.
“With the Auditor Gmail account, we always considered it official and public.”
“Really. You can trust Tim Keller. Nothing to see here. Move along.”
I don’t trust either of them. It’s my job to be skeptical of government officials.
True, Keller released some Gmail messages. But we have no way of knowing if he also illegally deleted some.
Keller apparently created the Gmail account when he was elected in November. He planned to use it before he took office and got a government email account. That’s fine. He should have stopped using it when he took office on Jan. 1.
Keller’s continued use of the Gmail account has me questioning his readiness for the nuanced and technical work New Mexicans elected him to do.