October 24, 2015

Cancelled hearing another consequence of Duran resignation

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Photo Credit: Joe Gratz cc

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s proposal to change campaign finance rules hit a roadblock when Dianna Duran resigned Thursday evening.

Dianna Duran after her guilty plea.

Joey Peters

Dianna Duran after her guilty plea.

In an email on Thursday night, Interim Election Director Kari Frequez wrote,”In light of Secretary Duran’s resignation on Thursday evening, the Office of the Secretary of State has cancelled the rulemaking hearings.”

The public hearing was scheduled for Friday morning and was partly intended for members of the public to weigh-in on possible changes to campaign finance laws.

Fresquez wrote that the intention of cancelling the meeting was to give Duran’s eventual replacement a chance to possibly revise the proposal.

“As the governor is charged with appointing a Secretary of State, it is appropriate that he or she have the opportunity to shape the policy and rules of the office in order to successfully administer not only campaign finance, but also every other aspect of the office,” Fresquez said in her email.

Several New Mexico lawmakers and their campaign finances have come under review by the Secretary of State’s office both leading up to and since Duran’s legal troubles began.

Some of the proposed changes would have outline what and how candidates are allowed to spend campaign contributions.

New Mexico Political Report previously reported that Common Cause New Mexico, a nonpartisan group that advocates for more transparency in campaigns, criticized the new rules for being too broad in some areas and too specific in others.

Viki Harrison, director of Common Cause New Mexico, said she understands why the Secretary of State’s office cancelled the meeting, but that New Mexico has long needed updated campaign finance rules.

“People are already campaigning and these rules need to be put in place as soon as possible,” Harrison told New Mexico Political Report.

Harrison said she does see a good side to the cancellation though. Harrison and Common Cause New Mexico were also pushing for additional rules that would require more disclosure regarding campaign contributions. She said it will be good to have a “fresh person with a fresh set of eyes” to look at the proposed changes.

This was the second time such a meeting was postponed.

New Mexico Political Report reached out to Frequez for a comment regarding the history of cancellations. We will post her comments when we receive them.

Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana was announced as the acting secretary after Duran resigned.

Following her resignation, Duran pleaded guilty to six of the original charges as part of a plea bargain.

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