Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Denish gets cover from Richardson

When Lt. Gov. Diane Denish rolled out her ethics reform package more than a month ago, it was suggested that she was simply gaming voters by offering a plan that her political ally Gov Bill Richardson would never put on the table for discussion.

And here we are, a special session in the works, and guess what; the Denish Plan isn't on the call. Nor is any other plan to protect the public interests in the spending of our power and our resources.

It would be ok if there were some reason not to put it on the call. Is there?

The state is up to it's eyeballs in over spending. Lawmakers are seriously considering depleting reserves just to make ends meet. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in play.

State Auditor Hector Balderas said, if the state funded his office adequately, taxpayers would realize a net savings of hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Coincidentally, the Denish Plan, offered as a work in progress, never was amended to include the robust funding for the Auditor's Office, the Secretary of State's Office, or the Attorney General's Office that would pound the last nail in the coffin for governmental corruption and incompetence in Santa Fe.

So is there any other reason not to end the culture of corruption before we decide how to "spend" hundreds of millions of dollars during the special session?

Would it take longer to resolve ethics issues now than later? Hardly. I would argue that if it is the only issue on the table, or one of two, progress will faster than if it is part of a legislative agenda with tens or hundreds of other issues for legislators to hide in and around.

Ethics reform is the number one issue, simply because it is the most fundamental issue. The rules under which money and power are spent, govern the spending of money and power. To spend them first and then talk about the rules for spending them is nonsensical.

And disingenuous beyond the pale.

This then is Diane Denish's moment of truth.

She will either stand on the record somewhere and insist that
the end of the culture of corruption and incompetence
is next in the order of business, or she will not.

She will fight to end the culture of corruption, or she will not.

It seems fitting that Denish's moment of truth is in fact,
a moment of truth.

photos Mark Bralley

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