Article V, Section 17 of the New Mexico Constitution
The Law that Creates and Empowers the State Ethics Commission
The “state ethics commission” is established as an independent state agency under the direction of seven commissioners . . .
The New Mexico Constitution creates the State Ethics Commission as an independent state agency and establishes how the Commissioners will be appointed. The Constitution also empowers the Commission to “initiate, receive, investigate and adjudicate complaints alleging violations of, and issue advisory opinions concerning, standards of ethical conduct and other standards of conduct and reporting requirements, as may be provided by law.”
Under Article V, Section 17 of the New Mexico Constitution, the Commission has jurisdiction over “state officers and employees of the executive and legislative branches of government, candidates and other participants in elections, lobbyists or government contractors or seekers of government contracts and have such other jurisdiction as provided by law.”
Article V, Section 17 also grants to the Commission the power to investigate potential violations of the statutes under its jurisdiction, providing that the Commission “may require the attendance of witnesses or the production of records and other evidence relevant to an investigation by subpoena as provided by law.”
Last, Article V, Section 17 provides that the Commission “shall have such other powers and duties and administer or enforce such other acts as further provided by law.”
The State Ethics Commission Act
What are the Commission’s Powers and Duties Under the Law?
The State Ethics Commission Act is the enabling legislation for the State Ethics Commission. While the New Mexico Constitution provides for the creation of the ethics commission and establishes its foundational, irreducible jurisdiction, the State Ethics Commission Act provides for the specific duties of the Commission and outlines which laws are under its current jurisdiction. Under the State Ethics Commission Act, the Commission has jurisdiction to enforce the civil remedies provisions of eight statutes and the Anti-Donation Clause. The State Ethics Commission Act also gives the Commission the power to make rules necessary to implement and administer the provisions of the State Ethics Commission Act.
The State Ethics Commission’s Jurisdiction
What Laws Does the Commission Administer?
The State Ethics Act Commission Act grants the Commission jurisdiction over eight statutes and one provision of the New Mexico Constitution. Collectively, these statutes and constitutional provision offer a vision of state government whereby the exercise of public power is democratic, transparent, and responsive to the public’s interest:
- Campaign Reporting Act
- Financial Disclosure Act
- Gift Act
- Lobbyist Regulation Act
- Voter Action Act
- Governmental Conduct Act
- Procurement Code
- State Ethics Commission Act
- Article 9, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution
The State Ethics Commission’s Administrative Rules
What Rules Govern the Commission’s Administrative Procedures?
General Provisions, NMAC 1.8.1
The General Provisions, NMAC 1.8.1, provide the rules establishing the Executive Director’s duties and powers, the Commission’s objectives, and guidance on interpretation of Commission rules.
Rule: NMAC 1.8.1
December 2019 Rulemaking:
October 2020 Rulemaking:
Recusal and Disqualification of Commissioners, NMAC 1.8.2
Recusal and Disqualification of Commissioners, NMAC 1.8.2, provide the rules governing the recusal and disqualification of Commissioners.
Administrative Hearings, NMAC 1.8.3
Administrative Hearings, NMAC 1.8.3, provide the rules of procedure governing administrative cases before the Commission, from the filing of a complaint through the Commission’s written, final decision on appeal.
Proposed Code of Ethics for State Agencies, NMAC 1.8.4
The Commission is currently engaged in the rulemaking process for the Proposed Code of Ethics. Relevant materials can be found below:
Audio Recordings for Public Rule Hearings
Joint Powers Agreements
How Does the State Ethics Commission Address Overlapping Jurisdiction?
The State Ethics Commission shares jurisdiction to administer and enforce certain statutes with other state agencies. To conserve public resources and ensure that agencies with particular expertise retain primary jurisdiction to enforce these statutes, the Commission has entered into contracts with the agencies with whom it shares jurisdiction. Under New Mexico law, these contracts are known as joint powers agreements.
The Commission has executed five separate joint powers agreements with the Secretary of State and the General Services Department.
- JPA between the Commission and the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office for the Campaign Reporting Act
- JPA between the Commission and the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office for the Lobbyist Regulation Act
- JPA between the Commission and the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office for the Financial Disclosure Act
- JPA between the Commission and the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office for the Voter Action Act
- JPA between the Commission and the New Mexico General Services Department for the Procurement Code
Commission Administrative Opinions
View Commission Administrative Opinions for Past Cases
After hearing appeals in administrative cases, the State Ethics Commission will publish any written final decision. These final decisions are legally binding on the parties to the administrative case before the Commission. Parties may seek judicial review of final Commission decisions by petitioning a district court for a writ of certiorari under Rule 1-075 NMRA. The Commission’s jurisdiction over administrative complaints takes effect on January 1, 2020. At present, the Commission has yet to publish a written final decision. Once the Commission begins to issue final decisions, its opinions will be posted here.
Resolutions and Standing Orders
View the Commission’s Resolutions and the Executive Director’s Standing Orders
The Commission may adopt resolutions to address issues that are not otherwise covered by its rules or the State Ethics Commission Act. Similarly, under the Commission’s rules of procedure, the Executive Director may issue or withdraw standing orders addressing general practice issues and filing protocols for the handling of cases before the Commission or its hearing officers.
- Resolution No. 1, Open Meetings
- Resolution No. 2, Special Counsel
- Resolution No. 3, Commissioner Financial Disclosures
- Resolution No. 4, Investigations of Referrals and Informal Complaints and Initiation of Civil Actions
- Resolution No. 5, Authorizing a demand and civil action against the Committee to Protect New Mexico Consumers
- Resolution No. 6, Authorizing Staff to Act for Commission During Legislative Session
- Resolution No. 7, Authorizing a Demand and Civil Action Against the Council for a Competitive New Mexico
Executive Director’s Standing Orders