Arianna Sena

Polls show New Mexicans believe their government is corrupt. State lawmakers say that while there may be a few bad apples, the system we have is working.

But the facts show just the opposite: New Mexico has the widest gap in the country between the laws on the books and the way those laws are actually enforced, according to a 2015 report from the Center for Public Integrity. via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Monday brought felony charges against a former state senator accused of using his office to make money on a land deal.

Gwyneth Doland

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State legislators passed a budget, created a REAL-ID driver's license fix, cracked down on DWI and child porn and advanced bail reform. But did they do anything to reverse the tide of indicators that New Mexicans have lost faith in state government? We look at what lawmakers did, or didn't do, to restore the public trust. 

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A state House panel on Tuesday approved a bill that would give political candidates and elected officials clearer guidelines on how they can spend money from their campaign accounts. It's been an embarrassing problem for the state.

Arianna Sena

The state Senate halted an attempt to create an ethics commission on Tuesday that would have overseen the legislative and executive branches.

Bill Would Require Details From Lobbyists

Feb 12, 2016
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A recent poll found 89 percent of New Mexico business leaders want to know more about how lobbyists spend money to influence lawmakers.

A House committee is reviewing Democratic Rep. Jeff Steinborn’s bill that would require lobbyists to disclose exactly how much money they spend and which lawmakers are the recipients of that money. Currently, lobbyists are only required to disclose how much money they spent in all.

“Information is power,” Steinborn said. “It’s important for transparency so citizens can see who is being wined and dined, who is being given gifts.”

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We are more than halfway through the legislative session and the bills are starting to move more quickly on their way to the finish line next Thursday. Gwyneth Doland is covering state government for the People, Power and Democracy Project. She spoke with KUNM's Chris Boros.

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A new survey of New Mexico business leaders shows most think there is a real problem with money in politics in the state. And some business groups are getting serious about plans to clean up state government.

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KUNM Call In Show Thu. 2/4 8a: A new report says New Mexico’s economy isn’t growing because it’s based on “crony capitalism,” meaning our government responds to the needs interests of a few powerful, wealthy interests—leaving the rest of us pay the price. 

Commentary: New Mexico Needs An Ethics Commission

Jan 26, 2016
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Political science research suggests there’s a link between how much you trust your government and whether you weigh in during elections.

Voter turnout in Albuquerque’s recent city council election was the lowest in decades, and UNM Political Science Professor Gabriel Sanchez says that’s just one example of a dangerously low level of civic engagement in New Mexico. Inspire greater confidence in public officials, he says, and more people will go out and vote. 



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In her state of the state address Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez told lawmakers that public safety should be their top concern. But she also mentioned the need to reform an old and entrenched system of political pork that's interfering with our ability to build things New Mexicans say we badly need: new roads, bridges and water systems.

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The state Legislature is getting ready to meet this month in Santa Fe and lawmakers will be focused on putting together a budget. But many people are hoping lawmakers will also address recent high-profile corruption cases and pass tougher measures to keep government clean. 

Courtesy of the Rio Grande Zoo

Chimpanzees have been bred for research here since the 1950s, and at one point, the state was home to the largest captive chimpanzee colony on the planet. But the National Institutes of Health decided to stop funding chimp research last month. The move marks a sea change in biomedical ethics—and might prove smarter for human health.

Emilie Udell for the Center For Public Integrity

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It’s become habit in New Mexico to groan about incompetence and corruption in state government as though it’s something terrible—but out of our control. Ugh, these politicians. What can you do? 

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KUNM Call In Show 10/29, 8a: Secretary of State Dianna Duran resigned last week and pleaded guilty to charges including felony embezzlement for taking campaign donations and using them to gamble at local casinos. The deputy secretary of state is filling in, but what happens next?

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Long-time Democratic State Senator Phil Griego resigned while facing an ethics investigation. At issue is a real estate deal that Griego brokered for friends of his who own a hotel in downtown Santa Fe.

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Most New Mexicans think their state government is full of bad apples. The problem is, it’s really hard to tell which ones are good for us—and which ones are rotten.

According to a poll released Monday, three-quarters of New Mexico business leaders say they want the state to have an independent ethics commission. Two proposals moving through the state legislature would do just that.

Democratic Representative Brian Egolf says unlike many of our neighbors, we don’t have an organized way of investigating officials accused of corruption.

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