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The Rest of the Story

Looks like the New Mexico Independent left off the rest of the story in their ethics reform discussion with the Center for Civic Policy.

Matt Brix, policy director for the Center for Civic Policy, tells the Independent he’s hopeful that the ongoing federal investigation into how CDR Financial Products won more than $1.4 million in state contracts could lead to new momentum for enacting ethics reform legislation in New Mexico.

“I certainly hope the Legislature will see fit to approve much-needed ethics reforms like contribution limits, an independent ethics commission and an expansion of public financing,” Brix wrote in an e-mail to NMI. “After all, New Mexico is one of the last remaining states without contribution limits and independent oversight of both the executive and legislative branches.”

They left out the ironic part. The part that reminds everyone that an organization funded by the Center for Civic Policy is under investigation by the Attorney General for ethically questionable and potentially illegal campaign practices:

Attorney General Gary King today answered erroneous reports that his office was somehow backing away from its request to the Secretary of State’s Office to require a non-profit group to report campaign expenditures and abide by other requirements under the Campaign Practices Act and Lobbyist Regulation Act.

“Despite some reports to the contrary, we fully support our earlier position in a letter that the Secretary of State’s Office needs to tell the New Mexico Youth Organization (NMYO) to immediately comply with the law,” says Attorney General King. “Due to the spread of misinformation there seems to be some thought that my office had “disavowed” our letter or told the Secretary of State to “ignore” our advice, that is just not true. Those words were used, however, by others who support the NMYO.”

The AG also says, “If the Deputy Secretary of State thought we had instructed him to simply ignore our letter, then that was a misunderstanding on his part of what was said.”

Following receipt of a letter from the Center for Civic Policy (CCP), the Secretary of State’s Office forwarded the letter to the AG’s Office. In the letter, the CCP set forth a number of claims supporting NMYO’s actions and urged the Secretary of State not to grant the AGO’s request. Before they made a decision to disregard or follow the AG’s advice, the SOS was asked to let the AG’s office closely examine the CCP’s claims and report back. That is where the issue stands today.

NMYO is responsible for a number of messages distributed publicly that targeted state Legislators. The group claims that the mailers it sent out were not campaign materials. The Attorney General disagrees.

“There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its probably a duck,” say AG King. “And I think we know a duck when we see one.”