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What We Do
New Mexico Ethics Watch, founded in 2016, is a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life in New Mexico. NMEW believes that ethical governance and good governance go hand in hand – necessary elements to create a just society and economic opportunity for all. NMEW advances its mission through research, compliance actions, policy advocacy, public education, and media outreach.
New Mexico is fortunate in that there are a number of entities in the state that already are charged with enforcing the statutes and codes that are meant to ensure ethical behavior. Unfortunately, the enforcing entities do not always act with alacrity. NMEW will use the existing complaint and notification processes in the state to bring possible ethical violations to the attention of the proper authorities, and will work to ensure that complaints that have been filed do not slip below the radar or get swept under the rug.
Everyone is concerned that our elected officials and other state officials act in the public interest, not their private interest. Yet New Mexico’s disclosure requirements are so anemic that it is hard to tell whether a conflict exists. NMEW will work to establish a more robust disclosure regime in the state so that the public can better monitor whether those running the state are working for the people, or for themselves.
New Mexico is one of a handful of states that do not have a statewide ethics commission, a shameful lack of accountability in a state that is regularly beset by ethics scandals. Yet merely having an institution called an “Ethics Commission” will not be enough – a toothless or shell commission would do more harm than having no commission at all. It is imperative that an ethics commission have the following core elements:
- be grounded in the state Constitution;
- be independent of influence from any one branch of government;
- have enforcement power, including independent investigatory and subpoena powers, and the ability to initiate an investigation absent a complaint;
- operate so that the commission is transparent in its operations, especially in the manner in which it handles complaints, including regular reporting on the activities of the commission;
- and process complaints in a timely fashion.
Who We Are
Kathleen Ann Sabo, Executive Director – Kathleen received her B.A. from Fordham University in New York City, and her J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. A Connecticut native, Kathleen moved to New Mexico in 1991 and is a member of the New Mexico Bar. Concentrating chiefly on legislative matters, she provided legislative analysis to the New Mexico State Senate Judiciary Committee (Sen. Michael Sanchez, Chair) and New Mexico Legislative Reports, and served as the Head Majority Analyst for the New Mexico State Senate. Kathleen has been a long-time consultant to the New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), performing legislative analysis and undertaking numerous special projects, including representing the AOC on a legislative task force and steering committee (2015’s SJM 4). She has also consulted with New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and Tourism Department. Kathleen served for many years as the host and producer of Albuquerque’s KUNM Public Radio’s weekly public affairs program, The KUNM Call-In Show – garnering a 2015 First Place Top of the Rockies award from the Society of Professional Journalists for General Broadcast Excellence, along with the broadcast team – as host and producer of public affairs and cultural special programs and election coverage on KUNM, and as an independent radio host and producer. She also served as the Executive Director of Santa Fe’s Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, and has consulted with numerous entities on business, media, music and recording projects as the principal of Voice and Verse. She has taught as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of New Mexico. Kathleen is an award-winning singer/songwriter and composer, and a writer of poetry and prose. She is a mother of two who is an avid sports and exercise participant and coach, gardener, ocean and animal lover, and frequent and intrepid traveler throughout the U.S. and beyond.
Our Board Of Directors
The Board of New Mexico Ethics Watch reflects NMEW’s commitment to a non-partisan approach to state ethics. The NMEW Board draws on the experience of individuals who have longstanding experience with ethics and good governance in the state.
Justice Richard Bosson (retired), Chair
Phil Davis, Secretary
Al Green, Treasurer
Agnes Fuentevilla Padilla