Report from Santa Fe Interviews SEC Executive Director Jeremy Farris

Aug 7, 2020 | In the News



SUNDAY, **Aug. 9** at 8:00 a.m. on Ch. 5.1 & 4:30 p.m. on Ch. 9.1



Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission

An Update On The Core Work Being Done By

The Newly-Formed Bipartisan Ethics Commission

 — 30 Complaints Adjudicated & 6 Advisory Opinions Issued Since January 2020 —

Aug. 6, 2020 – This week’s guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Jeremy Farris, the Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission, an independent state agency that promotes the integrity of state government, through the interpretation, enforcement, and improvement of New Mexico’s campaign finance, lobbying, procurement, and governmental conduct laws. Farris provides an update on the core work being done by the newly-formed bipartisan Ethics Commission.

Since their January 2020 inception, the Commission has received and adjudicated 30 complaints and issued 6 advisory opinions. The complaints remain confidential while the advisory opinions are public and cover interesting elements of the gift act, the procurement code, and the government conduct act (especially concerning the issue of state employees teleworking from outside New Mexico during the pandemic). The Commission served as a Friend of the Court in the Court of Appeals “State vs. Padilla” felony embezzlement and abuse of office in public service lawsuit.

Providing background information on the membership of the commission and how the members have been chosen, Farris describes the many structural protections for the commission’s autonomy, and details the hearing process for complaints. He lists the governmental agencies as well as the statutes over which the commission has jurisdiction: the campaign reporting act, the financial disclosure act, the lobbyist regulation act, the gift act, and the state ethics commission act. There is one constitutional provision that the commission can monitor and that is the anti-donation clause.

This interview explores ethical issues on the national level and asks such questions as “Why do people violate ethics standards when they have so much to lose?” and “What ethics offenses might New Mexicans unknowingly commit?”


For years, New Mexico had been one of only 6 or seven states in the US who did NOT have an Ethics Commission. After many failed attempts by the legislature and by many governors to establish ethics commissions, legislators got together and put the establishment of an independent New Mexico ethics commission on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. The measure passed by a large margin.

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During nearly 40 years on the air, Lorene Mills and REPORT FROM SANTA FE have given viewers a unique opportunity to become part of a series of remarkable conversations – always thoughtful and engaging, often surprising – held in a warm and civil atmosphere.

Gifted with a quiet intelligence and genuine grace, Lorene Mills draws guests as diverse as Jane Goodall, Margaret Atwood, Alan Arkin, Gore Vidal, Isabel Allende, and Stewart Udall, along with a who’s who of New Mexico politics, into easy and open exchange, with plenty of room and welcome for wit, authenticity, and candor. Mills’ ability to elicit the true thoughts and nature of her guests is legendary.  Lorene Mills and REPORT FROM SANTA FE is committed to offering New Mexico viewers – and listeners – yet another decade of wonderfully unique voices and viewpoints.

REPORT FROM SANTA FE airs on all three PBS stations across New Mexico:

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