Following the resignation of Dianna Duran the House Special Investigatory Committee looking into her impeachment will not meet on Tuesday as regularly scheduled. The panel was investigating whether or not the House should look into impeachment of Duran for the multiple charges she faced. Duran pleaded guilty to six charges, including two felonies, on Friday. Hours earlier, Duran resigned from office. Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, also issued a statement where he addressed the need for the panel—or lack thereof now that Duran is no longer in office.
The House panel tasked with looking into possible impeachment of Secretary of State Dianna Duran has already hired special counsel to aid in the investigation. Just a day after the first meeting of the House Special Investigatory Committee, co-chairs Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, announced they retained former federal prosecutor Robert Gorence as special counsel. “We’re confident Mr. Gorence will do an outstanding job of assisting the committee in this important task,” the two co-chairs said in a joint statement on Tuesday afternoon. “His experience, professionalism and diligence will be invaluable.” Legislators are looking into allegations that Duran moved campaign funds to personal accounts, as part of thousands of dollars spent at local casinos.
If the first meeting of a Special Investigatory Committee looking into impeaching Secretary of State Dianna Duran was any indication, the journey between now and possible impeachment will be long and grueling. Lawmakers approved granting committee co-chairs state Reps. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, authority to hire legal counsel. Cook said the committee will likely hire an attorney within the next week. The lawyer will be tasked with guiding the committee through the investigation of Duran’s alleged wrongdoing.
The special committee tasked with looking into a possible impeachment of Secretary of State Dianna Duran will meet for the first time next week. Whether anything substantial will happen at this meeting is a good question—one we are still trying to find an answer to. State Reps. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque are the co-chairs of the bipartisan special investigatory committee. Neither returned our calls and emails left for them Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
It’s been a strange few weeks when it’s news that the Secretary of State was working in the office. Multiple media outlets reported the embattled Secretary of State Dianna Duran was in the office this week—and last—in preparation for the 2016 elections. Duran has been largely out of the public eye and out of the office since she was charged with 64 counts related to allegedly funneling campaign funds to personal accounts. The Attorney general outlined how Duran spent thousands of dollars, including the alleged converted campaign money, at casinos in the state. It had many asking where Duran was holed up.
The special committee that will look into possible impeachment of Secretary of State Dianna Duran will meet on September 28, according to a press release from the two co-chairs of the committee. The House Special Investigatory Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the State Capitol for the first time. The committee is made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. According to the release from Reps. Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso, and Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque, the committee will discuss hiring legal counsel, the rules of procedure for the investigation, a hearing schedule and other matters.
Shortly following Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s first court appearance Tuesday morning, state lawmakers approved a House subcommittee to consider impeaching her. Lawmakers in the interim Legislative Council, which is made up of members of both the House and Senate, approved $250,000 in funding to pay for the impeachment special committee. The funding will likely go towards the hire of outside counsel. State House of Representatives Speaker Don Tripp, R-Socorro, appointed a panel of bipartisan lawmakers to investigate whether Duran should be impeached last week. He told committee members that he anticipated the panel would want money to spend on lawyers.
Secretary of State Dianna Duran pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 64 counts related to using campaign finance money for her personal use, including fraud and money laundering charges. Duran appeared in person in district court in Santa Fe. She was released on her own recognizance. The courtroom was mostly empty, with a crowd of about 15 people, mostly media, watching from monitors in the hallway. Related: House approves funds for special committee to look into impeachment of Duran.
The leader of the House of Representatives named ten members to a panel that will look into the possible impeachment of Secretary of State Dianna Duran. Speaker of the House Don Tripp, R-Socorro, named five Democrats and five Republicans to the panel tasked with examining evidence against Duran and examine possible impeachment. Duran is facing possible impeachment, which in turn could lead to removal from office, for allegations that she moved campaign funds into personal accounts. The 64 charges from Attorney General Hector Balderas were filed in late August. The ten names on the committee are:
Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque Kelly Fajardo, R-Belen Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque Tomás Salazar, D-Las Vegas Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces
Chasey and Cook will be the co-chairs of the panel.