About

What the State Ethics Commission Does

Information about the Commission’s Structure and Function

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency created by Article V, Section 17 of the New Mexico Constitution to promote full compliance with the state laws that require our state government to be democratic, responsive to the public’s interest, and ethical. Those democracy and public accountability laws include: the Campaign Reporting Act, the Financial Disclosure Act, the Gift Act, the Lobbyist Regulation Act, the Voter Action Act, the Governmental Conduct Act, the Procurement Code, the State Ethics Commission, and Article IX, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution, commonly known as the “Anti-Donation Clause.”

The Commission works to achieve its goals by adjudicating ethics complaints, initiating civil enforcement actions in court, issuing advisory opinions, proposing amendments to ethics laws, drafting a model ethics code for other state agencies, and providing ethics trainings.

The Commission is bipartisan. Any action taken by the seven-member Commission requires the concurrence of two Commissioners of the largest political party in the state and two Commissioners of the second largest political party in the state. Furthermore, the State Ethics Commission Act provides that the Commission may not have more than three members of the same political party.

Commissioners

Who are the Commissioners and how are they Appointed?

The State Ethics Commission is comprised of seven commissioners. The State Ethics Commission Act sets forth a procedure for appointing commissioners that ensures an independent commission.

The Commission’s appointment structure is unique. The Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minority Floor Leader of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Minority Floor Leader of the Senate each appoint one Commissioner. The four legislatively-appointed Commissioners then appoint two additional Commissioners. Finally, the Governor appoints the Commission’s Chair, who must be a retired judge. No more than three Commissioners may be members of the same political party. Except for the initial Commissioners, the Commissioners are appointed for staggered terms of four years. No Commissioner may serve more than two consecutive four-year terms.

There are also statutory requirements regarding who can serve as a Commissioner. To qualify for appointment to the Commission, a person must be a New Mexico voter; not have changed party registration in the five years preceding appointment; and not have been in the two years preceding appointment a public official, a public employee, a candidate, a lobbyist, a government contractor, or an office holder in a political party at the federal or state level, as the State Ethics Commission defines those terms.

The current Commissioners are:

Hon. William F. Lang, Chair
Appointing authority: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Initial term expires: June 30, 2022

Jeff Baker, Member
Appointing authority: Legislatively-Appointed Commissioners
Initial term expires: July 18, 2024

Stuart M. Bluestone, Member
Appointing authority: Speaker of the House, Brian Egolf
Initial term expires: June 30, 2023

Hon. Garrey Carruthers, Member
Appointing authority: Minority Floor Leader of the Senate, Stuart Ingle
Initial term expires: June 30, 2023

Ronald Solimon, Member
Appointing authority: Legislatively-Appointed Commissioners
Initial term expires: July 18, 2024

Dr. Judy Villanueva, Member
Appointing authority: Minority Floor Leader of the House, James Townsend
Initial term expires: June 30, 2021

Frances F. Williams, Member
Appointing authority: President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Mary Kay Papen
Initial term expires: June 30, 2021

Upcoming Commission Meetings

Click Here to view upcoming State Ethics Commission Meetings.

 

Commission Staff

Who Are the Staff?

The State Ethics Commission Act requires the Commission to appoint an attorney “knowledgeable about state ethics laws” to serve as the Commission’s Executive Director. The Executive Director can serve for no more than two six-year terms.

The State Ethics Commission Act requires the Executive Director to hire a General Counsel. The General Counsel reviews and investigates complaints filed with the Commission. The General Counsel can serve for no more than two five-year terms. The Executive Director hires other staff members in addition to the General Counsel.

The current staff includes:

 

Jeremy D. Farris

Jeremy D. Farris

Executive Director

Jeremy is the first State Ethics Commission Executive Director. He previously served as General Counsel to New Mexico’s Department of Finance and Administration and practiced law at litigation firms both in Atlanta, Georgia and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jeremy clerked for the Honorable Julia S. Gibbons on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; the Honorable Judith K. Nakamura on the New Mexico Supreme Court; and the Honorable James O. Browning on the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. He holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, a doctorate and masters degree from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a Bachelors of Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Walker Boyd

Walker Boyd

General Counsel

Walker is the first State Ethics Commission General Counsel. He previously practiced law at Peifer, Hanson and Mullins, P.A., and clerked for the Honorable James A. Parker on the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico and the Honorable J. Miles Hanisee on the New Mexico Court of Appeals. He holds a law degree from the University of New Mexico, where he served as Editor in Chief of the New Mexico Law Review, and a Bachelor’s of Arts from Vassar College.

Sonny Haquani

Sonny Haquani

Communications Director

Sonny serves as the State Ethics Commission’s Communications Director. Prior to joining Commission staff, Sonny served as a community liaison for the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. Sonny has served as Board Chairman of IBSG at the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management and, with the Anderson School, was the Executive Editor of Outside the Margins: The Bluebook on the Global Refugee Crisis. Sonny holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies and Political Science from the University of New Mexico.

Contact The Ethics Commission

History of the Commission

The landmark laws that create the State Ethics Commission

In the 2018 general election, New Mexicans voted to adopt Article V, Section 17 of the New Mexico Constitution, which established the State Ethics Commission. New Mexico became the 45th state to create an independent ethics commission.

The Commission is the product of over 40 years of work on the part of Governors, state legislators, advocacy organizations, and other New Mexicans. Gubernatorial task forces in 1992, under Governor Bruce King, and in 2006, under Governor Bill Richardson, proposed an independent ethics commission as the keystone of wider legislative reform. In 2017, the Legislature passed a joint resolution to amend the New Mexico Constitution to create an independent ethics commission. The House of Representatives unanimously passed this joint resolution (66-0), and the Senate passed it on a vote of 30-9. The legislation consequently gave the New Mexico electorate the final decision on whether to create an independent ethics commission.

In November 2018, New Mexicans voted on a ballot initiative to amend the Constitution to include a new section establishing an ethics commission. Over 75% of the voters voting on the ballot question elected to amend the Constitution to add Article V, Section 17. In the following 2019 legislative session, the Legislature unanimously enacted the enabling legislation, the “State Ethics Commission Act,” which established the Commission’s structure and powers.

Click Here to learn more about the legal foundations of the State Ethics Commission.

 

COVID-19 Response

NOTICE

March 16, 2020 – Due to the developing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the State Ethics Commission office is open by appointment only.  The Commission will accept ethics complaints and requests for advisory opinions via U.S. Mail or electronic mail.  The Commission has adopted the Department of Health’s March 12, 2020 COVID-19 Self-Isolation Recommendations for State Employees.  The office is locked during normal business hours, and commission staff have been authorized to work from home pursuant to the DOH’s recommendations.  The Commission continues to accept and process complaints and requests for advisory opinions. 

Commission staff may be reached at the following telephone numbers and email addresses:

Jeremy Farris, Executive Director Telephone: (505) 490-0951
Email: Jeremy.Farris@state.nm.us

Walker Boyd, General Counsel Telephone: (505) 554-7196
Email: Walker.Boyd@state.nm.us

Sonny Haquani, Director Telephone: (505) 554-7706
Email: Sonny.Haquani@state.nm.us

Click Here to see the full notice.