An ethics complaint filed by New Mexico Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins against a state senator who has been critical of her department has been dismissed by legislative leaders.

The complaint against Sen. Jacob Candelaria, which accused the private practice attorney of violating the law by voting on legislation that would affect one of his clients, had been dismissed by the state Ethics Commission on jurisdictional grounds and referred to the interim Legislative Ethics Committee. State policy requires leaders in the Senate to determine whether the complaint implicated Candelaria in his role as a legislator.

“After our extensive evaluation, we have determined that the complaint and information did not warrant further investigation by the [interim committee], therefore the complaint is dismissed,” Sen. President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, wrote to Collins last month.

Candelaria claims the complaint was filed in retaliation. He has filed a tort claims notice, a precursor to a lawsuit, against Collins, claiming the complaint was without merit and defamatory.

“I’m certainly pleased legislative leadership on a bipartisan basis dismissed the secretary’s politically motivated and baseless ethics complaint on the merits,” Candelaria said. “I look forward to taking this matter to court ... to ensure that our ethics processes are not abused in the same manner in the future.”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(1) comment

John Cook

Senator Candalaria has not asked my advice. If he had, I would suggest he dismiss his lawsuit. This is in the nature of a libel suit. The difficulty is that if you sue someone for libel, they are liable to prove it.

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