New Mexico Senator to file an ethics criticism

Candelaria filed a letter of intent with the State General Services Department Monday to complain that the complaint was “unfounded, defamatory, and swiftly dismissed by the New Mexico Ethics Committee six days later on legal grounds,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Monday .

Candelaria said the tort complaint is intended to expose the alleged retaliation he faced after filing requests for public records with the governor’s office last year.

“I will also be filing an infringement lawsuit (New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act) against the governor in the coming weeks for unlawful retaliation,” Candelaria said. “I will also file an ethics complaint against the governor for the same behavior.”

Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, said there had been no retaliation and that Candelaria was “apparently only motivated by his personal animus”.

Candelaria, who has openly criticized Lujan Grisham, said the matter was “part of a much bigger problem”.

Candelaria said he requested several emails over the past year relating to the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and federal spending as a lawmaker and member of the public. He was then told that the request was “too broad and burdensome” and that additional time was required to provide the documents.

A week later, Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, Candeleria, and former Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, both Democrats, said they had asked him to meet at his Albuquerque law firm, where they allegedly told him Lujan Grisham and others be angry that he submitted the file request. Candelaria said he withdrew his inquiries after the meeting.

Wirth declined an interview request. Papen said they had met with Candelaria, but she preferred that Wirth answer questions “because I’m not there anymore.”

Papen added that she believes everyone has the right to file a request for public records.

Documents indicate that Collins filed an ethics complaint against Candelaria in March accusing him of violating the State Government’s Conduct Act by voting on a bill during this year’s 60-day legislature , while representing legal clients who “would be significantly affected by the outcome”.

The state ethics committee informed Collins in a letter in March that it did not have an overview of the matter and recommended that it be addressed by the Legislative Interim Ethics Committee.

“I fully intend to bring both cases to a judge or a jury,” said Candelaria. “It is not okay for an elected official or government employee to threaten, harass, or avenge a person for soliciting public documents.”

(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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