This week, a grand jury charged former state Sen. Phil Griego with 22 new criminal counts centering mostly on embezzlement and perjury for allegedly using campaign money for personal use and lying about it. In total, Griego faces 19 new felonies and three misdemeanors. This adds to the nine previous corruption counts Griego was charged with last summer by a district court judge in Santa Fe. Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office is prosecuting Griego. The new charges include 13 perjury counts, each of which are fourth-degree felonies, for lying on several of his campaign finance reports between 2012 and 2015.
Dianna Duran will spend just thirty days in jail if she is able to abide by terms of release set down by Judge Glenn Ellington on Monday for six crimes she pleaded guilty to earlier this year. The total sentence is seven and a half years with all but 30 days suspended. The former Secretary of State will serve supervised probation for five years and pay $14,000 in fines and just over $13,000 in restitution. Related Story: PR firm head says Duran sentencing an ‘opportunity’
Jail time or incarceration of any kind were dropped from Duran’s plea deal with Attorney General Hector Balderas, who filed 65 criminal counts against her in August. Duran pleaded guilty in October to embezzling campaign money for personal use, which she later admitted was part of a gambling addiction.
With officials from all three branches of government presenting their respective agendas at the Roundhouse this week, it’s important to keep in mind that maintenance of public trust is among the state’s chief obligations. Today political writer Harry Eten at FiveThirtyEight.com looked at how difficult it is to derive a comprehensive measurement of corruption at the individual state level. One of the articles he cites includes particular relevance for New Mexico. A survey by researchers Oguzhan Dincer and Michael Johnston asked investigative and political reporters to rank levels of illegal and legal corruption in each state. From Dincer and Johnston’s article: We define illegal corruption as the private gains in the form of cash or gifts by a government official, in exchange for providing specific benefits to private individuals or groups.