October 26, 2015

Will the Duran case judge restore confidence?

Joe Gratz


Jeffrey Paul is an Albuquerque resident and author of “Inside Politics in America: A View From the Outside.”

Before handing down Dianna Duran’s sentence, I hope First Judicial District Court Judge Glenn Ellington remembers Duran’s campaign promise – to restore confidence and integrity to the Office of Secretary of State.

Jeffrey Paul

Jeffrey Paul

A major focus of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State are regulating campaign and election ethics and overseeing campaign finance fund collection and expenditures.

As Duran steps down from her position as Secretary of State and pleads guilty to two felonies and four misdemeanors, Judge Ellington needs to remember that Duran violated several campaign finance laws she was elected by the people of New Mexico to enforce. What’s most appalling to me is not the crime itself but Duran’s dismissal of any responsibility for endangering the integrity of the office of the Secretary of State.

Her words spoken as she walked away from the courthouse and her guilty plea boggles my mind – she states she has “done a tremendous job” as Secretary of State and “…at no time did I ever do anything in my official capacity as Secretary of State that would jeopardize the integrity of the office.” I beg to differ. Duran’s myopic view of her conduct is disconcerting at best and disgusting in reality.

Duran has poisoned the integrity and the confidence in the Office of Secretary of State. Apparently she thinks that any resulting damage to the Office is just collateral damage from her personal conduct.

I sincerely hope that Judge Ellington’s sentencing will be in the best interest of the people of New Mexico and the Office of Secretary of State and not in the best interest of Dianna Duran. Let’s not forget that the two felony counts and four misdemeanor count add up to an accumulated eight years in prison and a fine of $14,000.

That sentence would only start to rebuild that integrity and confidence that she promised.