Don’t count on ethics reform

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE – For a moment, ethics reform has tiptoed into the spotlight.  But it won’t be for long and it won’t make much of an impression.

Budget cutting is the major topic of the day, and for many days to come. It will be the excuse for nothing being accomplished on ethics reform in this coming legislative session.

But for now state officials are busy announcing their ethics proposals for this year’s efforts. First among them is Gov. Bill Richardson, who appointed a blue-ribbon ethics task force several years ago. The group came up with a comprehensive plan, little of which has gotten anywhere over the years.

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has introduced her ethics plan. She is particularly interested in separating herself from Gov. Richardson’s alleged ethics breaches. Rather than just saying she isn’t involved, it is better to take the offensive with a plan. And that she has.

Attorney General Gary King also has released his legislative agenda, which includes a substantial ethics component. King wants an ethics commission, a whistleblower protection act and a governmental conduct act, which would extend to all levels of state and local government.

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