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Ethics Reform – NM Style

Governor Bill Richardson made a point in his State of the State to address the need for Ethics reform:

Holding the highest ethical standards is not a privilege, but our responsibility as public servants. It’s also the best, and only way, we can protect the public’s faith in their democracy.

Some of you here served in the Ethics Reform Task Force and provided valuable recommendations. Thank you for your efforts. Those recommendations are the basis for my ethics package.

I’m proposing—an independent ethics commission, better campaign reporting, public financing for judicial candidates, and limits on gifts and campaign contributions. These recommendations are now before the legislature and represent a tough reform package that will help restore the public faith in our Government.

So, what’s Governor Richardson’s first step in restoring the public faith in our Government:

The Bill Richardson for President Exploratory Committee was officially less than five hours old Monday when it fired off more than 300,000 e-mails seeking campaign contributions to potential supporters across the country.

But here’s the problem…

It looks like it is illegal for the Governor of NM to raise any money for political purposes during the New Mexico legislative session.

From state statute:

1-19-34.1. Legislative session fundraising prohibition. (1995)

B. It is unlawful during the prohibited period for the governor, or any agent on his behalf, to knowingly solicit a contribution for a political purpose. For purposes of this subsection, “prohibited period” means that period beginning January 1 prior to any regular session of the legislature or, in the case of a special session, after the proclamation has been issued, and ending on the twentieth day following the adjournment of the regular or special session.

Thanks to the Wednesday Morning QB for pointing this out. Now I wonder if our new Democratic Attorney General, Gary King, is going to launch an investigation? Yeah, that’ll happen… about the same time that there is real ethics reform in New Mexico.

Make sure to tune in this Saturday to Insight New Mexico at 3:00 p.m. on 1350 AM Progressive Radio (what can I say I like a challenge) to catch yours truly telling like it is.