NM gets a D- in 2015 State Integrity Investigation

In 2010 Dianna Duran ran for secretary of state as a reform candidate who would clean things up in the wake of scandals that had plagued the office’s two previous occupants. As a county clerk in rural Otero County and later a state senator, Duran had earned a reputation for cool-headed competence. She was endorsed by most of the state’s newspapers and even the left-leaning editorial board at The Santa Fe New Mexican gave her a thumbs up, citing a “solid record of integrity.” When she won, Duran became the first Republican to hold the secretary of state’s office in 80 years. That was then. In late October, just a year into her second term, Duran, the state official in charge of overseeing elections, campaign finance and ethics, resigned and pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement charges related to personal use of campaign funds.

Ethics commission legislation moves forward

The perennial issue of creating a state ethics commission passed a House committee on Wednesday. The legislation, sponsored by Minority Leader Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, sought to make the ethics commission as non-partisan and non-political as possible. The House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee voted unanimously to pass a committee substitute version of the legislation with no recommendation. There was little debate on the legislation, though Egolf noted that members on the committee had heard this legislation before so a detailed presentation was not necessary. Rep. Ken Martinez, D-Grants, noted that Egolf is the latest in a line of legislators to try to create an ethics commission.