House Speaker Don Tripp announced Wednesday the members of the committee that will investigate charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran and consider possible impeachment.
The 10 state representatives appointed to the committee are:
- Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque
- Gail Chasey, D-Albuquerque
- Zach Cook, R-Ruidoso
- Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque
- Kelly Fajardo, R-Belen
- Javier Martínez, D-Albuquerque
- Bill Rehm, R-Albuquerque
- Patricio Ruiloba, D-Albuquerque
- Tomás Salazar, D-Las Vegas
- Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces
Chasey and Cook will serve as co-chairs, according to a news release.
“One of the heaviest burdens the House of Representatives carries is determining whether to overturn the results of an election,” Tripp said in the release. “As we begin to conduct an independent analysis of the evidence against Secretary of State Duran, it is critical that the special committee I have appointed approaches this difficult task with the solemnity it deserves.”
“My expectation is that these members will put partisan politics aside as they follow a process that is fair and unbiased,” Tripp said.
Duran faces charges including fraud, embezzlement and money laundering related to abusing the state’s campaign finance system. She allegedly used campaign funds to keep her personal bank account in the black while gambling at New Mexico casinos.
As was the case with the House investigations of then-State Treasurer Robert Vigil in 2005 and Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block Jr. in 2011, the committee will investigate and make recommendations on whether the House should consider the impeachment of the secretary of state for alleged crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office. The committee will be charged with determining whether the alleged incidents should be the subject of an impeachment investigation and whether any of them are supported by evidence that warrants impeachment.
Vigil and Block both resigned during investigations by House committees.
Tripp made the decision about who would serve on this committee after discussing which Democrats would serve with House Minority Leader Brian Egolf.