New Mexico ethics commission proposal goes to statewide vote

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico voters will decide next year whether to create an independent political ethics commission in the wake of a recent string of corruption scandals.

The New Mexico Legislature gave its approval Thursday by a 30-9 vote of the Senate to amend the constitution and create a seven-member body to investigate and sanction ethics violations. The amendment goes to a statewide ballot initiative in November 2018.

The commission would enforce standards of conduct for state officers, employees, lobbyists and contractors, along with campaign finance restrictions and reporting requirements for political candidates.

New Mexico has been shaken since 2015 by a string of corruption scandals that led to resignations by the secretary of state, a longstanding state senator and a former Cabinet secretary who has not been charged.