POLITICS

New Mexico taxpayers footing bill for Susana Martinez's frequent travels, report says

FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez speaks during the New York Republican State Committee Annual Gala in New York. Martinez, the nation's only Latina governor, is joining a chorus of Republican lawmakers in disavowing Donald Trump's repeated criticisms of a bereaved military family. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez speaks during the New York Republican State Committee Annual Gala in New York. Martinez, the nation's only Latina governor, is joining a chorus of Republican lawmakers in disavowing Donald Trump's repeated criticisms of a bereaved military family. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

Gov. Susana Martinez’s political trips during the first five months of the year have cost New Mexico taxpayers less than $3,500; however, they have paid more than six times that amount to cover the cost of her security detail during those trips.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, state residents have paid a total of $26,270.98 for the governor’s trips – of which $3,407.58 were expenses incurred by Martinez and her staff. The rest – $22,862.40 – was spent for transportation, hotels and food for her security team.

The newspaper tallied the costs of the trips based off documents obtained through a public records request.

Martinez’s travel this year includes visit to Washington, D.C., from Feb. 18 through Feb. 22 for meetings of the Republican Governors Association and the National Governors Association. For that trip, the state paid $136.61 to cover expenses for the governor and staff as well as $11,590.66 for her security, the newspaper reported.

She also stumped for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Kansas before he dropped out of GOP presidential race in March.

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Part of the reason the governor's costs are so low in comparison to her security personnel's is that political organizations that invite the governor to out-of-state events frequently pay for her personal expense.

Martinez, the nation's only Latina governor, is a high-profile figure within the GOP. Other trips this year have included stops in Florida, Las Vegas, New York and South Carolina, but the newspaper did not report itemized expenses for all of them.

According to the New Mexican, Martinez is not the first governor who has spent taxpayer money to go on political trips outside of the state. Her predecessor, Democrat Bill Richardson, spent a lot of time in other states, especially in 2007 when he ran for president.

Martinez is expected to continue to pile up travel expenses. Just last week, she went to Dallas for what were characterized by her office as political meetings of an unspecified nature.

The governor's political action committee paid for that trip, a spokesman told the newspaper.

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