Local pol calls for stronger corruption laws

Posted at: 02/13/2014 5:41 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

An Albuquerque lawmaker takes the gloves off in the fight against political corruption, with a new proposal for removing crooks from office.

It's a bare-knuckles approach, about as subtle as a two-by-four to the jawbone.The main theme is "let's kick 'em out!"

The bill is sponsored by Albuquerque Republican Mark Moores, a first term senator. He wants to make resignations automatic and immediate in cases of felony convictions.

"We've had times in New Mexico where politicians have been convicted of felonies and they stay in office," Moores said. "I think they should be kicked out right away. Elected politicians, cabinet secretaries, board and commission members - if they violate the public trust, they should be kicked out of office."

In recent times, courts have interpreted the New Mexico Constitution to allow immediate expulsion from office for elected officials, but Moores' bill would include high level political appointees, too - a bigger pool of politicos.

Then there's the money. When ex-State Treasurer Robert Vigil was convicted in a kickback scheme, he was able to funnel unspent political contributions into his buddies' election campaigns. Moores wants that to stop.

"What I want to do is not let them take their slush fund, their political campaign donations, with them. That should go back to the public good and be spent on the public good, so I'm having that money to to the Children's Trust Fund."

Moores' bill, Senate Bill 287, has already cleared one Sennate committee and now faces a hearing before the always-tough Senate Judiciary Committee.