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, litigation, policy advocacy, 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.
New Mexico Ethics Watch has significant concerns regarding the revised version of the constitutional amendment creating an Ethics Commission for New Mexico that the House of Representatives has sent to the Senate for consideration.
Chris Clark, Los Alamos Daily Post
Douglas Carver, executive director of New Mexico Ethics Watch, a nonpartisan group, said he doesn’t believe Egolf violated the Financial Disclosure Act, based on what he knows of the situation. But that’s all the more reason, he said, to amend the act to require more information to be disclosed by state officials – as his group has advocated.
- Dan McKay, ABQ Journal
[NMEW] Board members hope the group will work with the news media and the public to identify problems and “name names” of offenders.