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Task Force Time

What to do, what to do? You’re a Governor running for re-election with an eye on the White House, and one of your closest friends and largest contributors, the guy you take with you to World Series and Super Bowls, is finally fingered in the corruption scandals that are plaguing the state. Obviously, you need to focus the attention away from yourself, so you do the thing that comes naturally – you create yet another task force.

Governor Bill Richardson today announced the creation of a task force that will work immediately to develop a broad package of recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature to reform the state’s ethics and campaign-finance laws.

“It is unacceptable that New Mexico does not limit or include any accountability for campaign contributions or gifts to elected officials,” Governor Richardson said during a speech today to members of the Southern New Mexico chapter of Common Cause. “I will involve the Legislature in the development of the recommendations. But I also want good-government advocates to help us develop the toughest possible ethics and campaign-finance laws.”

Problem is I don’t remember Governor Richardson bparticularlyiarly eager to curb contributions to his own campaign during this last legislative session: (subscription):

Gov. Bill Richardson wants lawmakers to postpone work on broad ethics or lobbying reforms until next year and instead focus on anti-corruption proposals developed in the wake of a kickback scandal involving state treasurers.

Richardson’s comments came Wednesday after a Senate committee unanimously approved a bill to prohibit campaign contributions and most gifts to legislators and state elected officials – such as the governor and treasurer – from companies and individuals providing investment or financial services to the state.

Sorry Governor Richardson, but I don’t think anyone is going to be fooled by your latest use of smoke and mirrors, I mean task forces. You had a chance to prove yourself ethical, and you came down hard on a bill that would have limited your ability to raise money.