Thursday, July 9, 2009

Denish outlines ethics plan

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish outlined her ethics plan this afternoon outside the state Supreme Court.

The list is long.

Denish, a second-term lieutenant governor who is running for the state’s top post in 2010, wants an ethics commission on which neither elected officials, lobbyists or family members of lobbyists could serve. No officers of political parties, either.

A Democrat, Denish wants an online ‘sunshine portal’ that would host a state checkbook ledger of sorts, a capital outlay tracker, a comprehensive list of open meetings, a salary of state employee salaries and a contractor database.

In addition, Denish is pitching increased transparency in political campaigns and from lobbyists. Under her plan, all statewide candidates would file reports every three months. Eventually, all candidates would be required to file campaign finance reports every 30 days.

Denish said she was there "to continue the fight to make sure New Mexicans have a government that is transparent."

She hadn't spoken to Gov. Bill Richardson about the proposals, she said. She hopes she can get them on the call for the 2010 30-day session.

Denish said she has been working on the proposals for months, including as she toured around the state and found that current scandals have shaken people's faith in government.

She twice made it clear that she had no connection to the current scandals. She also pointed out her work to reform the state's housing authorities.

"Regardless of what we are proposing today, my office and I are not part of anything that has to do with any of the current allegations," she said.

"Again, whatever may be said by the opposition party in their quest to find qualified candidates for some of their offices, let me just say this, I have not been part of any of this, my office has not been part of any of this, regardless of what they may want to say or allege."

Even before Denish's press conference started, Republicans had taken aim.

"For years, the people of New Mexico have been waiting for Diane Denish to take a more active and visible lead on the issue of corruption," GOP chairman Harvey Yates said in a statement. "Cosmetic changes to the laws under the guise of corruption reform will not do. What is most important in the battle against corruption is for leaders to stand up against the fountains of corruption in the state."

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