Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

Remember When We Used to Trust?

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

I’ve opted not to take an active role in any campaign this primary season.   This is a departure from years past where I’ve done everything from volunteer, to blog about, or even consultant on one primary campaign or another – not to mention once running as a candidate in a primary. For the most part my decision to stay out of the primaries (although, you can bet I’ll vote) is due to the fact that, with a few exceptions, there are very few candidates running in the Republican primary that I would have a problem supporting in the general election. And, those candidates I would not vote for in the general election have ABSOLUTELY no chance of winning their respective primaries.

With that said, I have to take issue with a recent post put up by fellow blogger Joe Monahan. It’s been awhile since I’ve given Joe a hard time, and his recent innuendos regarding the large  contributions received by Susana Martinez from the Perry’s of Texas definitely warrants criticism:

Those previous Perry donations raised some fuss, but were not as sensitive as they are today because they did not come in a climate filled with news of corruption and alleged corruption–mostly all stemming from campaign contributions.

A Martinez operative points out that Perry does not currently do business in the state. But with the size of this donation, if he did choose to do business here would it buy him access? Or what about his associates who might want to set up shop in New Mexico?

So, first let’s deal with the facts. A very large campaign contribution is made to a candidate by a donor with no business in the state of New Mexico.  A donor who has a significant history of making large contributions to Republicans in previous campaign races in New Mexico without pursuing business in the state.  So, why does an outsider do this?  Well, historically especially while the Democrats have controlled the political reins, it’s because that’s how business is done in the Land of Enchantment.

But, the Perry’s have not given large donations to Democrats in New Mexico to buy political favors when the number of recent indictments has shown those favors were clearly for sale. So, what’s the motivation for the Perry’s to give such a large sum of money to a campaign? Well, this may be hard to understand for people who put their personal self-interests above all else, but looking at the Perry’s contribution history, it’s clear that you have folks who are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Or, more specifically, invest in their principles. This is actually pretty common in America.  Every day, all over our great nation, people make donations and contributions to politicians, not-for-profits, religious organizations, etc. without expecting any “payback” in return.  Some of those contributions are very, very large. In fact, the return they expect on their investment is that the receiving party will do what they promised to do.

When it comes to  Republican candidates, this generally means enforce the rule of law, limit the size and reach of government and demand accountability. Every candidate is a person, and every person has flaws or has made mistakes. However, “being for sale” is not a flaw. It’s not a mistake. It’s a felonious act. And, let’s face it, if Susana Martinez was guilty of these type of crimes, she would of long ago been run out of Las Cruces where she has been elected and re-elected as a Republican to be the District Attorney in a county that has a strong Democratic majority.

I long ago said that the pushing of ethical reforms is nothing more than political posturing.  It sounds great on the stump, but means absolutely nothing in practice. Crooks will be crooks regardless of the ethics adopted by others.  Unfortunately, one of the worst legacies of the culture of corruption of the eight long years of the Richardson/Denish Administation is that everyone now assumes the worse. The simple act of stepping up to the plate and giving to people and causes you believe is assumed to have an ulterior motive.

It’s time to get back to a time where we can trust one another. Where we can believe the best, rather than the worst of those we elect to represent us. Where we celebrate the contributions of citizens rather than the farewell parties for criminals.  Everyone is going to be aware of the contribution made by the Perry’s, and that’s how it should be.  If the Perry’s wanted to buy political favors, they wouldn’t have made a single huge contribution that was bound to attract everyone’s attention.  Instead, they would have done it in the manner that has been cultivated into an art form in the Richardson/Denish Administration – less conspicuous bundling of contributions to purchase political favors in return.

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

With every passing week, it becomes ever clearer that Governor Richardson, and everyone in his administration,  will find themselves tainted come Election Day by the pay-to-play political scandals of the last eight years:

Douglas Goldberg, a former vice president of CDR Financial Products, admitted in federal court in Manhattan on Monday that he was involved nationally in bid rigging of investment agreements and other contracts involving municipal bonds from 1998 to at least November 2006. He is cooperating with authorities.
        

Goldberg was involved in getting CDR hired in 2004 to work on the $1.6 billion state bond program in New Mexico known as Governor Richardson’s Investment Partnership.
        

The company won a contract as an adviser on exotic financing arrangements that were not described in the request for proposals issued by the New Mexico Finance Authority.
        

It later received a no-bid, sole-source deal to manage the escrow account for the bond proceeds from the authority, which was charged with handling the GRIP financing for the Rail Runner and other New Mexico transportation projects.

The voting public is not going to be able to drive a road or see the RailRunner without being reminded that someone bought the opportunity to win those projects from this administration.  Now, some of you may think that Governor Richardson is termed out, so this is all just water under the bridge.  But, this is clearly not the case.

Take for example the current scandal plaguing the Secretary of State’s office. We might all remember that not all that long ago Insurance Superintendent Eric Serna was chased from office for the shakedown of those doing business with his office:

Former New Mexico Insurance Superintendent, Eric Serna, got forced to resign after years of allegedly shaking down those that came under his authority:
Serna indicated to Madison that he favored “good corporate citizens” making contributions to legitimate charitable organizations. Ruiz said Serna sometimes “looked the other way” on fines when insurance companies agreed to make contributions to favored charities. Ruiz said Serna would choose Con Alma and $35,000 would be sufficient.

At first glance, some might argue that he is just trying to help out some needy charities. Of course we later learned that Serna used at least one of those charities as his own personal slush fund.

A couple of years later, we see that absolutely nothing has changed. Our elected Democratic officials are still following the example set by the Richardson Administration:

A string of e-mails obtained by the SUN does support one of the allegations made in Salazar’s letter. Salazar states in one e-mail to [Secretary of State Mary] Herrera that he feared losing his law license because of activities in the Office.

“Ma’am, I not only have a duty to protect you, this office and the people of New Mexico, I also have my law license to protect,” Salazar wrote in a Feb. 12 e-mail to Herrera. “By law, this office is charged with responsibility for enforcing the Governmental Conduct Act. If we are asking our current contractors for this, then it is illegal.”

This e-mail refers to the Office’s attempt to ask private companies that contract with the Office for money to help fund a training event for county clerks to be held later this month.

What blows my mind is that you would think Secretary of State Mary Herrera would be particularly diligent in following the letter of the law considering her immediate predecessor is under indictment for her activities while heading up that office. But hey, this is the Land of Eternal Single Party Rule.  A magical place where elected officials can shakedown businesses and individuals with impunity.  Sure, they will occasionally have to throw one of their own to the scales of justice, but then they go back to their ways without ever worrying about Election Day ramifications… until now.

Election Day 2010 is looking to be the day the piper finally comes to get paid.  People have had just about enough and are ready to bring honesty back to elected offices. Granted, the favorite attorney of the pay-to-play crowd (e.g. Vigil and Correra) may see a downturn in business, but the rest of us will be far better off.  Heck, it looks like even Mr. Bregman might need a little time for a breather. His ability to outright deny the allegations of wrongdoing by his clients is becoming more and difficult:

But Bregman told the Journal that Salazar’s resignation had nothing to do with any of the concerns voiced in the letter.
        

“It had everything to do with the fact that he didn’t want to work,” Bregman said. “It’s clear he wasn’t a good fit for this office — as he said in the e-mail — and that’s because it required a lot of work.”

Even the casual reader can’t help but notice that in his attempt to deflect the blame, even Secretary of State Herrera’s attorney didn’t deny the allegations of the resignation letter, which if you haven’t read, I would strongly urge you to do so (hat tip: nmpolitics.net).

Richardson Approval Numbers in Free Fall

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The Teflon Governor is Teflon no more.

We’re going to have our New Mexico poll results out starting tomorrow- perhaps the most interesting thing we found is that Bill Richardson has become one of the least popular Governors in the country, with 63% of voters in the state disapproving of him to only 28% approving. He’s even in negative territory among Democrats at a 42/47 spread.

I’ve always been amazed by Governor Bill Richardson’s early popularity. Despite the rhetoric, the “successes” of this Administration have been nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

And, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on for days, but you can just hit the appropriate label button below and read it all without me repeating it.

So, what does this all mean for the Democratic hopefuls during this upcoming election year.  Well, right now it looks like Richardson Administration #2, Lt. Governor Diane Denish, is still polling out ahead… barely:

Where New Mexico departs from its regional counterparts is that it still looks favored to vote Democratic in its most significant statewide race this year. Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish leads her top Republican opponent, Pete Domenici Jr., by a 45-40 margin and has leads of 14-18 points over the rest of the GOP field.

Denish is by far the best known of the candidates running, with 41% of voters in the state holding a positive opinion of her to just 34% who see her negatively.

 Keep in mind, the Lt. Governor has been campaigning for this position for going on two years. So, I don’t know that those  numbers are anything to celebrate about – especially, considering Pete Domenici Jr. just got in the race a couple of weeks ago.

It’s going to be very hard for the Lt. Governor to start disengaging herself from the Governor after Denish has been so silent for so long. Only 34% of the voters see her negatively right now, but let’s be realistic.  She has operated in the shadow of Governor for the last eight years. His failed policies are bringing him down very quickly.  It’s not going to be very long before that same problem is encountered by Richardson’s #2. This is particularly true when we consider that the Governor spent so much time out of state during his Presidential dream chasing, that the state was actually being run by Lt. Governor Diane Denish.

Denish-Come-Lately

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Denish-Come-Lately

Noun

Singular
Denish-comelately
Plural
Denish-come-latelies

Denish-comelately (plural Denish-come-latelies)

  1. (idiomatic) A newcomer; a novice; an upstart

 Example in Common Usage:

Considering her complicit silence for seven plus years as Lt. Governor and many more years before that as the Chairman of the Democratic Party, many might consider Diane Denish’s election year decision to become an open government advocate something of a Denish-come-lately phenomenon.

It’s been more than half a decade, all of which Lt. Governor Diane Denish has occupied the number two seat in one of the most corrupt and backroom dealing administrations this state has ever seen, since I’ve lamented the fact that how the administration spends taxpayer dollars is done in secrecy.

Now that election season is in full swing, Governor Richardson’s number two is trying to reposition herself as a “Champion of Sunshine.”  Well, she may be able to fool some folks, but come November the voters are not likely to forget that when it came to letting the sun shine in this scandal plagued administration, Lt. Governor Diane Denish her time hiding in the clouds.

Even as recently as a few months ago, when this administration refused to identify those the 59 administration faithful who were supposedly being cut (probably to hide the fact that some were being moved to other positions), the sound of Lt. Governor Denish’s silence was deafening.

Sorry, but being a Denish-Come-Lately to the sunshine brigade is just not going to cut it in November.

Return to Feudal Times

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

People who work for the government work for us – the taxpayers. Ultimately, we’re their bosses. I know, based on some interactions you have with your employees it seems that they conveniently forget this fact.

Be that as it may, it truly works much the same as any business. We, the tax-paying bosses, produce revenue so that they have a job. This goes for everyone who is collecting a government paycheck, from President all the way down to administrative support staff in the smallest municipality in the nation.

Of course, the one biggest difference is that you, the taxpayer, can’t immediately fire these employees for poor performance. Imagine how different your last unsatisfactory interaction with a taxpayer paid employee would have been if you could fire those who don’t meet your level of expectation. Sure, you’re probably thinking, “I can fire the elected ones.” But, the thing is that particularly type of firing is a delayed action. The underlying reason the individual is losing their job is not apparent in that type of firing.

It’s kind of like housebreaking a dog. If you scold the dog after the fact for eliminating in the home, it will not equate the reprimand with the actual act of relieving itself in the home. For that to happen, you actually have to catch the dog in the act and show your displeasure. Same thing with elected folks on the taxpayer payroll. When they get reprimanded (read: the boot out of the door), they think it has something to do with changes in the political wind. They rarely think it is because of their repeated poor job performance.

Ok, so our system isn’t perfect. No news on that front. But, the system we’ve had in place is still better than any other around the world. Or, at least it had been. There wasn’t immediate accountabilty, but until recently there had been some semblance of accountability. For example, until recently, our employees felt obligated to provide us information when we requested. An obligation that is legally mandated.

I said until recently. Now, it appears even that level of accountability is going by the wayside:

Days after a spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson told a TV reporter that it was “not appropriate or dignified” to identify the 59 political appointees who are losing their jobs, Richardson’s office has formally denied a newspaper reporter’s request for that information.

The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Kate Nash didn’t get much – including anything that identifies the people who are being laid off – in response to her request.

Reporters, who happen to be taxpayers as well, have historically taken the role of internal audit committee for our, the taxpayers, business. In other words, they’ve looked out for our interests. However, if we allow them to be shut out and denied information about who is or isn’t working for us at a given time, then we stop having any sort of control over our government employees and officials. When this happens, those folks no longer work for us as public servants. Instead, we work for them in a manner very reminiscent of feudal fiefdoms in days of old.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of becoming a serf is not particularly appealing to me.

Bode Aviation Video

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

The surveillance video of Bode Aviation’s negotiations with the City of Albuquerque [hat tip: Peter St. Cyr], and the role Mayor Martin Chavez plays “messing with” contracts is unnerving at the least. Watch the video, and then ask yourself, “How does this guy get elected term after term?”

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6696165&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Bode Surveillance- Short Version from Richard M. Romero on Vimeo.

Why isn’t this more front and center in the campaign? Oh right, publicly funded campaigns don’t allow the campaigns enough resources to get the truth out. Explain to me again how this has improved the process?

A New Kind of Double Dipping

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Ever wonder why we have an economic crisis in New Mexico? Sure, it has to do with the spending spree of the Richardson Administration and the rubber-stamping legislature. But, the truth is that’s only one part of the equation. Corruption and unethical conduct are undoubtedly costing the taxpayers million annually as well.

I’m not just talking about pay to play politics that have seen tens of millions in taxpayer “investment” funds gp up in smoke. I’m thinking about the low level corruption that is costing us a half million here and half a million there.

For example, let’s just look at how much the taxpayers are paying for the PRC position held by Jerome Block, Jr. The part-time job pays $90,000 per year. In addition to that $90,000, the indicted Commissioner Block was able to grab $100,000 from taxpayers to fund his campaign:

Block Jr. told the Santa Fe New Mexican he won’t resign from his $90,000-a-year job representing northern New Mexico on the powerful regulatory board.

“I’m elected, I’m here, I’m not going anywhere,” he was quoted as saying before closing his office door to the reporter.

The New Mexican broke the story via Twitter earlier today.

The charges stem from Block Jr.’s publicly funded campaign for office last year. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Block, who is in his first term on the PRC, paid a band to play at a rally that never took place. Block later had to pay a fine and return $10,000 of the more than $100,000 in taxpayer money he received for his campaign after admitting to filing false reports.

So, right off the bat, we know that the indicted commissioner position costs $190,000. Of course, that’s only the start of it. You’ve got to factor in the time spent from those working for the Secretary of State’s and Attorney General’s offices:

A Complaint to the Secretary of State: On September 24, campaign finance advocacy group Common Cause issued a formal complaint to the New Mexico Secretary of State regarding Block’s apparent violations of the Voter Action Act in San Miguel county.

Attorney General Involvement: On September 27, the Attorney General stated that an investigation into Block Jr. lying about finances used in San Miguel County is on the “front burner.”

That’s got be worth at least another $150,000 when you factor in the loaded hourly rate of those involved in the investigation and ultimate prosecution of the case. Then, of course, you’ve got the taxpayer paid employees who were able to supplement their income with the taxpayer funded resources from the indicted commissioner Block’s campaign:


Just Who Ain’t on the Payroll?: On October 14, the first general election campaign finance reports for the district 3 PRC race indicated that Block Jr. payed Cordy Medina for “mailout assistance.” What’s the problem? Medina is the State Attorney General’s consitutent services coordiantor–the person who picks up the phone when citizens call to complain about, um, political candidates having suspicious payrolls.

This part-time double dipping wasn’t limited to the Attorney General’s office. PRC staff also found a way to get on the PRC campaign payroll:

Campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office show Block paid [Larry L. Lujan] Lujan at least $2,000 last year for campaign coordination. Lujan has previously said he campaigned for Block solely on weekends and on his own personal time.

So, that’s another couple of grand. But, let’s not forget the telephone bills:

Lujan and Block also exchanged more than 300 phone calls on Lujan’s state cell phone during a 10-month period after Block launched his campaign.

PRC officials investigated the calls after they were reported by the Journal and determined Lujan inappropriately used his phone, though the agency didn’t disclose whether Lujan was disciplined.

Anyone want to bet that those 300 telephone calls were not restricted to weekend and personal hour times? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Which means, we’ve got:

  • more lost work hours paid for by the taxpayers
  • on a taxpayer paid phone
  • to a campaign funded by taxpayers
  • for a position which is charged to taxpayers
  • which is investigated by and prosecuted by taxpayer employed staff

So, where does this leave us? Well, if you factor in Mr. Lujan’s latest promotion, we’re over $500,000 in waste.

A World Turned Upside Down

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. It is a day that should always serve as a reminder of two irrefutable facts:

  1. There are people in this world that hate America and the freedom it represents, and would do anything to destroy us.
  2. There are unsung heroes that everyday put their lives on the line to safeguard our communities.

Let me first acknowledge that second point by thanking the firefighters and police officers that step up everyday when no one is looking to protect and to serve. Thanks for what you do.

As to the first point, I can’t help but be concerned about the direction our country is heading. On 9/11, the terrorists failed to destroy America, but since that time, a greater and greater number of those elected to lead our country have made, and are making, decisions that might well accomplish what the terrorists failed to do those eight years ago.

On a state level, we’ve seen indictment after indictment against our elected officials. Yet, rather than outrage, the citizens of the state seem willing to accept this as just the way things are. Even the recent fleeing from the scene of an accident by the Governor and his staff is just seen as just another news story:


The state’s boating law says the operator of a vessel has 48 hours to provide information about an accident, and Condit complied with that, according to Jodi McGinnis Porter, spokeswoman for the energy and minerals agency.

Porter said Fay, the boat’s owner, stayed at the scene and provided information to investigators, while Richardson, Condit, Miller and the state police officers left. They were not required to remain there, she said.

What’s been largely missing from this discussion is not what is legal, but what is ethical. Legally, the perpetrators of the accident may not have been required to remain at the scene of the accident, but ethically, they should have remained.

Think about it.

There are only two reasons that the Governor and his staff fled. First, there was alcohol involved, and it would have been determined that a crime had been committed. Or second, they wanted to avoid the unfolding public relations nightmare that would have been made worse by having their pictures taken at the scene of the accident. I’m reasonably confident that if cell phone records were checked, one of the individuals in the party will be shown to have called for advice on whether or not they “had” to remain at the scene of the accident.

There is always a lot of gratuitous talk about the need to legislate ethics in this state. But, this is just another example of why you can’t legislate ethics. Unethical people will act in their own self-interests, and the shrewdly unethical will do it in within the letter of the law. You probably also noticed that not one Democrat running to lead our state in 2010 condemned the blatantly unethical act committed by Governor Richardson and his staff.

Speaking of speaking out, Representative Joe Wilson is in trouble for breaking with decorum by shouting out that the President of the United States was lying to the American people while giving his healthcare address. Yet, there was much truth to Representative Wilson’s accusations:

A GAO report finds that illegal immigrants constitute more than one-third of all Medicaid-funded pregnancies in California. Elsewhere in the country, the GAO found: “From 1992 to 1995 in Texas, the number of Medicaid-funded births to undocumented alien mothers more than doubled, while the total number of births remained fairly stable.” People respond to economic incentives. Even when the people and the incentives are illegal.

Missouri attorney general Chris Koster has estimated that one in ten Medicaid claims is fraudulent. How much of that fraud diverts money to illegal immigrants? Nobody knows for sure and don’t ask the state bureaucrats for help in finding out: When the federal government passed new rules demanding better documentation of legal residency for Medicaid recipients, the states resisted. In California, officials representing the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, wanted to use such lamentably inadequate documentation as insurance records and school report cards in place of passports and birth certificates. We are entitled to question their motives, and their prudence.

So, Representative Wilson could use a visit from Miss Manners. But he is telling the truth, and President Obama is not.

Of course, President Obama’s dishonesty on this topic is not limited to the question of whether or not illegal immigrants will benefit from the healthcare changes being proposed. There were numerous inaccuracies his speech. For example, take this:

OBAMA: “Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.”

THE FACTS: That’s correct, as far as it goes. But neither can the plan guarantee that people can keep their current coverage. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they’d be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. The Congressional Budget Office analyzed the health care bill written by House Democrats and said that by 2016 some 3 million people who now have employer-based care would lose it because their employers would decide to stop offering it.

In the past Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” Now he’s stopping short of that unconditional guarantee by saying nothing in the plan “requires” any change.

Considering how much effort goes into writing a presidential speech, these careful manipulations of the English language cannot be considered accidental. Again, we deal with a question of ethics. Is it ethical to put something forward as factually truthful that is actually intended to deceive?

Of course, these unethical manipulations of language are not limited to our elected officials. They are also being used by “community organizations” to confuse the issues. Consider this taken directly from the ACORN site:

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now does not apply for nor does it receive any federal grants.

ACORN has had contracts with other nonprofit organizations to perform work on projects which received federal grant support.

In illegal circles, what ACORN is describing is called money laundering. Organized crime has been doing this for years. In the case of organized crime, dollars from an illegal activity, take prostitution as an example, are flowed through a third party entity before making its way to a “legitimate” business. In this way, the business has deniability about the illegal source of the funds. Much the same way as ACORN has deniability about the federal source of its funding.

As long as we’re on the topic of federal funding, ACORN and prostitution, you might want to consider this:

Two staff members of the Baltimore office of ACORN were fired Thursday after they were captured on hidden camera appearing to give advice on evading tax laws to a man and woman posing as a pimp and a prostitute.

The video depicts a man and a scantily dressed female partner visiting the Charles Village office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, where they appear to ask two employees about how to shield their work from state and federal tax requirements. The supposed pimp also appears to ask the employees how to conceal underage girls from El Salvador brought into the country illegally to work for him.

“If they don’t have Social Security numbers, you don’t have to worry about them,” the employee says.

If you haven’t seen the videos, I strongly urge you to watch them. It’s like watching an SNL skit from when SNL was actually funny.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UOL9Jh61S8]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgqORp48uik]

Of course, the only problem is that this isn’t a comedy skit. It’s actually real. Now, factor in the economy, our increasingly uncompetitive educational system, the ever-growing size of government, and the you’ll see why I’m so concerned that America may be doing to herself what the terrorists failed to do on 9/11.

Avoid Jobs that Require Multitasking

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Looks like multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be:

A new study suggests that people who often do multiple tasks in a variety of media — texting, instant messaging, online video watching, word processing, Web surfing, and more — do worse on tests in which they need to switch attention from one task to another than people who rarely multitask in this way.

Specifically, heavy multitaskers are more easily distracted by irrelevant information than those who aren’t constantly in a multimedia frenzy, according to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

That’s it, looks like no more checking my email on the golf course. Apparently, multitasking is also detrimental for those in politics:

Last spring, a judge ordered that [state Public Regulation Commissioner Carol] Sloan’s wages as a PRC member be garnisheed so a bank could recover more than $39,000 from the commissioner. The garnishment came more than three years after a judge ordered Sloan to pay the judgment.

Another financial services company is now seeking to garnishee Sloan’s wages to recover a judgment of more than $1,000. A judge ordered her to pay that money in 2005.

Sloan filed for bankruptcy in 1997 to discharge debts owed at that time. She listed liabilities of more than $40,000 and assets of nearly $5,400, according to an Internet service that compiles bankruptcy data.

The commissioner, who earns $90,000 in the job, couldn’t be reached for comment on the bad-debt lawsuits and bankruptcy.

She’s not alone

As you probably know, Sloan is part of a bigger personnel problem at the PRC.

Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. was indicted in April on embezzlement, conspiracy and other charges related to the finances of his campaign last year. Also charged in the case is his father, former PRC member Jerome Block Sr. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Two years ago, a jury awarded a woman more than $840,000 in a sexual-harassment lawsuit against a third PRC member, David King. Taxpayers footed the bill.

Obviously, a bunch of multitaskers.

Ethics Reform Doesn’t Work for Criminals

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Advocating ethics reform legislation to solve the problem of criminality among our elected officials is just foolishness. It’s a blatant bait and switch tactic by politicians who don’t have the backbone to blow the whistle on their own:

The state Democratic Party’s vice chair, Annadelle Sanchez, declined to talk about the potential political fallout from the corruption scandals, but released this statement:

“The people of New Mexico deserve a government that is open, honest and transparent. Good government is not a partisan issue, so instead of pointing fingers, Democrats and Republicans should work together to bring about the type of reform our system needs. I’m proud of Democrats like Diane Denish and (state Auditor) Hector Balderas that are leading that fight.”

Richardson has not released a statement about the indictments. Denish on Wednesday renewed calls for ethics reform, but her office said the Democrats’ likely 2010 gubernatorial nominee was not available for comment Thursday on the political aspect of the indictments.

First things first, Hector Balderas, our State Auditor, is leading the fight to get criminals behind bars. He seems to be doing his job well and with little concern whether the elected criminals have an R or D attached to their name.

As much as I personally think Lt. Governor Diane Denish is a nice lady who has done a lot for New Mexico through her association with the Daniels Fund and other not-for-profit organizations, when it comes to leading the charge for rooting out corrupt politicians, she gets an “F” on her report card.

Let’s face the facts:

  • She was the Chairman of the Democratic Party at a time when many corrupt political criminals were at their strongest.
  • She has been silent about the rampant pay-to-play of the Richardson administration
  • She has not stepped and asked for an investigation into a single incident of corruption

Do I think Lt. Governor Denish has been robbing New Mexicans like many of her colleagues? No. But, nor do I think she has stood up for us either. “Renewed calls for ethics reforms” is nothing but smoke and mirrors designed to take our eye off the ball.