Two of three ethics complaints a retired judge filed earlier this year against state House Speaker Brian Egolf have been dismissed, the State Ethics Commission said in a recent letter to the complainant, Sandra Price.

The commission has no jurisdiction in the two complaints — that Democrat Egolf, a Santa Fe attorney, used his legislative office for personal gain and that he failed to discharge his legislative duties in an ethical manner.

A third charge — that Egolf failed to communicate a potential conflict of interest — is still under review by the commission’s general counsel, the panel said in the letter.

The complaints revolved around Egolf’s sponsorship and support of House Bill 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, which allows people to sue government agencies if they feel their civil rights have been violated. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed that bill into law this week.

Price claimed Egolf stood to benefit from the law because it originally included a provision guaranteeing defendants who lose their cases will have to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.



That provision has since been amended to leave it up to the court to decide whether attorney’s fees are awarded.

Egolf has denied any wrongdoing, and his attorney, Andrew Schultz, asked the State Ethics Commission to dismiss the complaints.

Speaking by phone Thursday, Schultz said Egolf is “very pleased the commission accepted the recommendation to drop those claims.” He said he is confident the general counsel will drop the third claim as well.

The commission had told Price in a previous letter it was likely to drop the two charges.

The commission said it has no jurisdiction over the complaints because of a provision in the state constitution that says legislators cannot be questioned outside the Capitol on “any speech or debate or for any vote” they cast.

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(5) comments

Mike Johnson

Even more proof this ridiculous "commission" is useless at stopping corruption and ethics violations. But some of us knew that when it was formed.

Chris Mechels

Did anyone actually think our corrupt legislature would want to empower an agency to monitor THEM?? Fat Chance...

They were careful to kept the Commission role very small, and tied enforcement to the SOS and AG, who are corrupt right up to their eyes.

Real reforms could result for empowering the Grand Jury, which we stripped of power in the 1990s, and prosecuting Malfeasance. But, we won't go there. Two who should be prosecuted for Malfeasance, the SOS and AG Balderas.

Richard Reinders

[thumbup]

zach miller

if there was any proof involved in this case, the complaint wouldn't need to be dropped. Of course the complaint is dropped as there was no proof because there was nothing to make an ethics complaint about.

naturally there is no changing a person's predetermined mind with evidence and proof, you will just continue in your personal bubble picking and choosing whats real not on evidence but on your own world view.

Richard Reinders

So Egolf gets off technically but not morale is that how I read this story? The Ethics Commission is toothless and is just for show is that what we are seeing here? Another feel good committee that does nothing we don't need. I think the tax payers have been duped and only recourse is at the election booth to eliminate these politicians that are involved in constant conflicts of interest. Term limits are needed to eliminate the corrupt lobbying efforts and ethics violation. Just another sad day in NM politics.

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