Democrats in the New Mexico House called Monday for the resignation of Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who is facing criminal charges related to abusing the state’s campaign financing system.
If she won’t resign, House Democrats want their GOP colleagues, who control the chamber, to join them in “discussions regarding the potential consideration of articles of impeachment,” a news release states.
“Beginning today, we are reaching out to our Republican colleagues in the House to find a way forward that is strictly nonpartisan, in keeping with the traditions of the House,” Minority Leader Brian Egolf said. “While we hope that Secretary Duran will choose to leave office, we in the House must be prepared to proceed in the event she does not.”
Duran’s attorney hasn’t responded to an email NMPolitics.net sent over the weekend asking if Duran, a Republican, is considering resigning.
Charges against Duran include fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. Attorney General Hector Balderas, a Democrat, also alleges violations of campaign laws, tampering with public records, conspiracy and violations of the Governmental Conduct Act.
The impeachment process must start in the House.
“The Attorney General’s criminal complaint and supporting information against the secretary of state are deeply disturbing and incredibly serious,” Egolf said.
“The secretary of state is charged with protecting the rights of voters, upholding our campaign finance laws, and enforcing our state’s ethics laws. These are some of the most important functions of our government,” said Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, the House Democratic Caucus Chair. “New Mexicans must have trust in the chief administrator of these laws.”
She called on Duran and Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, to “immediately appoint a qualified official to oversee these functions.”
“Our government must be transparent and must have the trust of the public,” Caballero said. “New Mexicans deserve to have complete faith in the person that is responsible for protecting voting rights and enforcing ethics.”
It’s not clear what authority Martinez has to be involved in such a move. NMPolitics.net has emailed her office seeking comment.