Third Congressional District candidate and First Judicial District Attorney Marco Serna wants to make an issue of a highly controversial — and rightly controversial — tweet by one of his Democratic primary opponents, former CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Plame has been questioned by reporters in New Mexico as well as on national television about her September 2017 re-tweet of a story headlined “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” From the get-go, Plame, who said she’d just skimmed the article before re-tweeting it, has apologized. “The anti-Semitic tropes in the piece are vile and I do not, nor ever have, endorsed them,” she wrote on her website.

That doesn’t excuse her and it doesn’t mean that political opponents, including Serna, don’t have the right to criticize Plame for it and bring it up during the campaign. In a phrase Plame knows well, it’s “fair game.”

But last week, Serna went about that in a blatantly dishonest way.

In an emailed “Press Alert” — which I assume is meant to be more urgent than a regular news “release” — Serna raised the unsubstantiated specter of white nationalists, Nazis and other such miscreants contributing to Plame’s campaign.

In this alert, Serna called on Plame to “return all contributions she has received from Holocaust deniers and white supremacists.”

“We know from press reports that Ms. Plame has accepted contributions from Holocaust deniers,” the Serna statement contended. “What we don’t know—given the $390,7990 in un-itemized receipts—is the extent of her support from white supremacists. I am challenging her to disclose all of her contributors so that we can see the depth of her white supremacist support.”

Oh no! Un-itemized receipts! Undisclosed donors! Some of these are bound to be evil racists!

Especially in the eyes of those who don’t know anything about federal campaign finance reporting, which I assume to be around 90 percent of the American public.

First of all, Serna’s figure is correct. Well, almost. Someone tacked an extra zero on the end of the number.

Plame’s reports, submitted to the Federal Election Commission, show that there were $390,799 in “un-itemized individual contributions.”

It’s not hard to see how someone not soaked in the ways of the FEC might think there’s something nefarious about nearly $400,000 in “un-itemized” contributions.

However, according to FEC rules, “A contribution from an individual is itemized on Schedule A, supporting Line 11(a)(i), when it: exceeds $200 or aggregates over $200 when added to other contributions received from the same source during the election cycle.” In other words, an un-itemized contribution is from someone who contributes $200 or less. It does not mean that the name of the contributor is undisclosed.

Nevertheless, Santa Fe’s district attorney is either unaware of this — or he’s trying to mislead people.

“I am challenging her to disclose all of her contributors so that we can see the depth of her white supremacist support,” Serna is quoted saying in the statement.

Plame does have the most un-itemized contributions among 3rd Congressional District contenders. But she’s not the only one. Serna himself reported $13,072 in un-itemized donations. How do we know that some of this money didn’t come from surviving supporters of the Khmer Rouge? I’ve never heard Serna denounce the killing fields of that brutal regime!

Come to think of it, how do we know that Teresa Leger Fernandez’s $67,525 in un-itemized contributions didn’t come from humanoid centipedes from Neptune? Prove it didn’t, Teresa!

So-called whaaa? Serna’s claim of Plame accepting contributions from Holocaust deniers (plural) is based on $450 from former California Congressman Pete McCloskey, a part-time Santa Fe County resident, who ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 Republican primary.

McCloskey did give a speech in 2000 to something called the Institute for Historical Review, a California group described by Auschwitz.org as “the focal point of world neo-Nazi propaganda since 1978.” In that speech, as published on the group’s website, McCloskey used the phrase “so-called Holocaust” — though he’s said since that the transcription of his speech was wrong and insists that he’s not a Holocaust denier.

Even if he was misquoted, you have to wonder about him agreeing to speak before such an organization.

I actually voted for McCloskey in 1972 because I wanted to be the first kid on my block to vote against Nixon that year. I hadn’t heard of the speech Serna cited until recently. I don’t know whether Plame was aware of it. Perhaps she should return his $450. Either way, his name is disclosed in living black and white in her campaign finance reports.

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(5) comments

Khal Spencer

Aren't there a few other credible candidates in this race to pull it back to actual issues? Or do we have to endure Marco Serna's low blows and Ms. Plame's off topic TV ads indefinitely?

https://ballotpedia.org/New_Mexico%27s_3rd_Congressional_District_election,_2020

Julian R. Grace

When politicians are advised to take cheap shots, or if they ignorantly thought of it themselves, it naturally brings the entire political system down to the level of propaganda. Republicans in D.C. have brought the national political dialogue so far down to that level that they're daily propaganda dosage is even sprinkling the prospect of another civil war generously on their conservative media propaganda machine. That's dangerous and they know it. What they don't know or care about is they've forgotten how much damage they caused in the last civil war. It will end a similar outcome, but what for? Not honor.

Sadly, republican rank and file are ready to march right over the cliff with them. Can anyone tell us what happened to common sense on their part? Hopefully the right candidate will get elected to the important congressional seat, but expect VOTERS to see thru destructive accusations that have no basis in reality.

Khal Spencer

Um...Marco Serna is a Democrat.

Stephen Fox

WIKIPEDIA: "Pete McCloskey gave an address to the May 2000 Institute for Historical Review (IHR) Conference in Irvine, California. When he ran in the 2006 Republican Party primary for congress, there was controversy over exactly what he said about the Holocaust at the event. According to the San Jose Mercury News McCloskey said at the time, "I don't know whether you are right or wrong about the Holocaust," and referred to the "so-called Holocaust". McCloskey replied that he has never questioned the existence of the Holocaust, and the 2000 quote referred to a debate over the number of people killed. McCloskey said in an interview with the Contra Costa Times on January 18, 2006, that the IHR transcript of his speech was inaccurate. Journalist Mark Hertsgaard of The Nation, in response to criticism of an article he wrote praising McCloskey's campaign against Pombo, stated that a tape he had viewed of McCloskey's speech to the IHR did not contain the "right or wrong" wording present in the transcript."

Lisa Burns

Thank you for for this correction, perhaps Steve Terrell needs to offer a correction. Surely, a columnist has the ability to check Wikipedia.

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