Gov. Richardson proposes ethics, campaign finance reform

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardon proposed new ethics and campaign finance reform proposals in his state of the state speech yesterday.

Together, we’ve passed significant ethics reforms — setting strict campaign contribution limits, providing public financing for judicial posts, and capping gifts to candidates, employees and officials.

But several vital reforms have been put off for too long:

—Whistleblower protections to shield employees from retaliation for reporting fraud, waste or abuse.

—Disclosure by any contractor wishing to make a bid on a state project of any campaign contribution of $250 or more over the last two years.

—A ban on candidates doing taxpayer-funded, public service announcements.

—An end to the revolving door where legislators this year become lobbyists next year. Just like we did for state officials.

—A ban on campaign contributions by corporations, state contractors or lobbyists.

If we as elected officials want the public trust, then we must trust our people.

I believe we need an independent, bipartisan, citizen-led ethics commission. This commission must be able to investigate, discipline, fine or censure, not just public officials or state employees, but also contractors and lobbyists.

Forty-one other states have such a commission.

New Mexico needs one too.

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