Duran makes first post-jail public appearance

Dianna Duran’s first public appearance since her release from jail was not the most impressive one. Duran spoke to the organization Albuquerque Wings for Life. Part of her sentence requires her to make four speeches to community groups per month. At least one of these will need to be at an educational setting. She is supposed to speak about the government and the crimes that she committed.

A brief history of the Legislature rejecting ethics commissions

If approved into law, the latest push for creating independent ethics commission would be the culmination of a decade of efforts to combat corruption in New Mexico. But if history is any guide, the road to agreement could still be long and rocky. Update: Add this one to the list of failed attempts: The legislation died in the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday morning. This piece continues as originally written below. The impetus came in a mirror image to the current situation, just a decade earlier.

Pension forfeiture for corrupt officials passes committee

A House committee passed a bill Thursday that would strip public officials of their pensions if they are convicted of some public corruption offenses. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, was originally aimed at taking all retirement funds from officials who violate public trust by breaking campaign finance or corruption laws. House Safety and Civil Affairs Committee Chairman Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque, said some committee members were concerned that the original bill would unfairly take money put into the pension from a previous stint in public service. Rehm introduced a committee substitute to address the issue. “In the original version once the violation occurs it would go back and erase other retirement,” Rehm said.

Despite concerns, ethics commission heads to House floor

A measure to give New Mexico an independent ethics commission passed its second test unanimously Tuesday afternoon, but not without long debate. The bill, carried by Rep Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque, establishes a body of nine people charged with weighing ethics complaints submitted to them against state government officials, employees and government contractors. Dines, a retired lawyer who in his second year as a legislator, said he supported such a commission long before he became a lawmaker. But he added that his short experience in the Roundhouse also helped shape his bill. “What I’ve learned is, I really think we need this for ourselves,” Dines told committee.

Duran impeachment panel ends with a look forward

The second—and final—meeting of the House Special Investigatory Subcommittee in the last year was a little anti-climactic. The reason, of course, for the lack of fanfare was that the committee was put together to look into the possible impeachment of Dianna Duran. Duran resigned before the committee’s second meeting, which was originally scheduled for the end of October. Since Duran resigned, there was no need for the committee to continue the investigation. Still, there are questions that need to be resolved.

New SOS outlines office’s goals, successes

New Mexico Secretary of State Brad Winter met with some members of the state legislature to discuss some of his goals for the office on Friday morning. It was Winter’s first meeting with legislators during the legislative session as Secretary of State. Winter took over after Dianna Duran, the previous Secretary of State, resigned ahead of pleading guilty to six charges, including two felonies, related to misusing her campaign funds. Winter told the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs committee that one of his priorities is improving education on and compliance with campaign finance laws. He said his office created a department devoted to educating candidates on how to properly comply with campaign finance laws.

Duran finishes 30-day jail term

Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran completed her 30-day jail sentence this weekend and was released from jail. Duran served 30-days in the Santa Fe County Jail, starting a week before Christmas. The jail’s website confirms that she was released shortly before 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. A judge sentenced to the jail term after she pleaded guilty to six charges, including taking money from campaign accounts for personal gain. As Secretary of State, Duran was in charge of enforcing campaign laws, including campaign finance laws.

Vigil exploring another run for Secretary of State

A former New Mexico Secretary of State announced on Wednesday that she is seeking petition signatures to run for the position again. On her personal Facebook page, Rebecca Vigil wrote that she was seeking 5,000 signatures by Feb. 2 to secure a spot in the Democratic pre-primaries. She said she has not officially announced her candidacy and was clear that she had a long way to go. “I have several bridges to cross before I can make the announcement that I will be in the race for Secretary of State,” Vigil wrote.

Dianna Duran’s downfall is our top story of the year

It would be very hard for the saga of Dianna Duran not to be number one this year, even before she went to jail. We are counted down the top ten stories through the end of the year with expanded recaps or personal recollections from the three members of the team. Previous: Stories 10-6. Number 5. Number 4.

Duran starts 30-day sentence in Santa Fe County jail

Former Secretary of State Dianna Duran turned herself in and began a 30-day jail sentence on Friday. The sentence came after Duran pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies, related to moving campaign funds to personal accounts. Duran has said she is seeking treatment for a gambling addiction. Duran resigned shortly before the guilty pleas earlier this year. While immediately after the guilty pleas Duran spent more time talking about how she had a “tremendous” public career than showing remorse.