KUNM

corruption

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For decades, legislators have repeatedly fumbled the creation of an ethics commission to stop government corruption. But voters demanded one overwhelmingly in November, and now it’s on some of the very people the commission would police—state lawmakers—to decide what it can and can’t do. They’re considering two bills this year: one where people can see what the commission’s up to and one where it’s mostly secret.

RICHIE DIESTERHEFT VIA FLICKR / CREATIVE COMMONS

Most other states around the country have some kind of watchdog agency in place to investigate politicians and other powerful people entrusted with public dollars. But New Mexico doesn’t have anything like that. So would a commission with the power to investigate and field ethics complaints help stop corruption here? The issue will be on ballots in November.

LISTEN: SOS Overdraft On Public Trust

Sep 4, 2015
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KUNM Call In Show 9/10 8a:

New Mexico is once again grappling with accusations of corruption in state government. Secretary of State Dianna Duran was elected in 2010 as a reform candidate who would straighten things up after scandal had plagued the office. But now she, too, is tarnished by charges she took money from her campaign coffers and spent it at casinos.

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Long-time Democratic State Senator Phil Griego resigned while facing an ethics investigation. At issue is a real estate deal that Griego brokered for friends of his who own a hotel in downtown Santa Fe.

Changes Would Make It Harder For Whistleblowers

Mar 5, 2015
Arianna Sena

The state’s Whistleblower Protection Act went into effect in 2010 and since then the state has had to spend a lot more money dealing with lawsuits. A bill in the state legislature would address that by making it harder to make a whistleblower claim.

Under current law, public employees who face retaliation for exposing corruption can sue the state for double back pay. State Senator Joseph Cervantes sponsored the original measure.

Two Paths To An Ethics Commission

Mar 3, 2015
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Most New Mexicans think their state government is full of bad apples. The problem is, it’s really hard to tell which ones are good for us—and which ones are rotten.

According to a poll released Monday, three-quarters of New Mexico business leaders say they want the state to have an independent ethics commission. Two proposals moving through the state legislature would do just that.

Democratic Representative Brian Egolf says unlike many of our neighbors, we don’t have an organized way of investigating officials accused of corruption.