Tuesday, July 21, 2009

October Special Session, and ethics reform.

It looks very much like there will be a Special Session of the
New Mexico Legislature in October.

There are bucket loads of federal stimulus dollars on their way to New Mexico. Legislators will be eager to grab that money for their own special projects. It will be spent according to the way money is normally spent in New Mexico. Some of it will get stuffed directly into people's pockets, some will be wasted because the people who are spending it are incompetent, and the leftovers will find their way to some legitimate need.

State Auditor Hector Balderas estimates that 3-5% of the state's budget is lost every year due to corruption and in competence.

Of every billion stimulus dollars, 30-50 million will be wasted or stolen.

Before we spend even one more dollar, why don't we end the culture of corruption and incompetence?

Why isn't ending the waste due to corruption and incompetence the first priority? There really is no reason except that the people who are wasting our money would like to continue to do so without being exposed and without being held accountable if they are.

Lt. Governor Diane Denish put a plan on the table to end the culture of corruption. The plan is still weak in that it still does not include the robust funding of the State Auditor's Office, that is necessary to forensically audit corruption out of existence.

If she pushes it hard enough, and if Bill Richardson steps up by putting ethics reform on the call before the spending begins, a great deal of money that would be lost or stolen, will be saved instead.

The only reason that Denish would not push her plan, is that it never was her plan; it was sham from the beginning. It was a bluff. She put the plan up only because she knew that Richardson would never put it on the call for any legislative session.

Richardson may also have good reason not to push her plan, or any other. Any plan worth its salt, will open the Pandora's Box of the culture of corruption and incompetence in state government, including the part played in it, by Richardson himself.

In which case, brace yourself for a whole bunch of Republican campaign adds suggesting that there is a reason why Denish's plan was contingent upon Richardson's approval, and that neither has any real intention to expose and end the culture of corruption in NM state government.

photos Mark Bralley

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