Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief of staff, John Bingaman, has taken a leave of absence from his duties to serve as an adviser to the governor’s role as co-chair of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s transition team.
Bingaman began in the new role Oct. 5 and took leave from Lujan Grisham’s office because the advisory role is “not within the scope of the governor’s official duties for the state of New Mexico,” the Governor’s Office said.
“There is a bright ethical line between political activity and governance, and the administration takes the obligation not to cross that line seriously,” said Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett. “Even the mere perception of an intermingling of official and political business would be unacceptable.”
Matthew Garcia, Lujan Grisham’s general counsel, is serving as interim chief of staff for the Governor’s Office.
Sackett noted Bingaman is neither employed by nor officially part of the Biden transition team.
Lujan Grisham’s office confirmed in September the governor had been named one of five co-chairpersons on Biden’s team preparing for a possible transition to the White House.
Biden is running against President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 general election.