New Mexico GOP wants ethics complaint tossed

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Republican leaders want a newly-formed ethics commission to dismiss a complaint filed against one of their members shortly before the election by her Democratic opponent.

“Issuing an ethics complaint just weeks before the November election reveals the desperation of the progressive radicals. They are willing to taint a brand new ethics commission just to score a headline,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend, of Artesia.

Democrat Karen Whitlock said Monday that she filed the complaint against Republican state Rep. Rebecca Dow, saying that her incumbent opponent failed to disclose her role as a legislator in contracts between an education company where she and her family work, and state child welfare agencies.

Dow said she didn’t have a conflict of interest as a legislator because she doesn’t own the company, AppleTree Educational Center, which provides after-school programs and other services.

In a letter to the State Ethics Commission, GOP leaders said that it has the authority to throw the complaint out, and urged it to publicly announce if it did so.

A spokesman for the commission said Wednesday that it couldn’t acknowledge if the complaint existed, and that such complaints against political candidates can’t be the subject of public hearings within 60 days of an election.

“If a complaint is dismissed, it is treated as confidential,” said spokesman Sonny Haquani.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that while public hearings can’t be held on ethics complaints against political candidates within 60 days of an election, they can be dismissed.

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Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.





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