New Mexico earns ‘F’ for judicial financial disclosure

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 Updated:

f

The Center for Public Integrity evaluated the disclosure rules for judges in the highest state courts nationwide. The level of disclosure in the 50 states and the District of Columbia was poor, with 43 receiving failing grades, making it difficult for the public to identify potential conflicts of interest on the bench. Despite the lack of information in the public records, the Center’s investigation found nearly three dozen conflicts, questionable gifts and entanglements among top judges around the country. Here’s what the Center found in New Mexico:

Strengths:

New Mexico justices must fill out two sets of disclosures: one with the Secretary of State’s office and one with the court system.

Weaknesses:

The state does not ask judges to disclose any investments except for real estate owned within the state — not including their primary homes. New Mexico also does not ask for information about any gifts received, whether given directly or in the form of waived fees or reimbursed expenses.

Highlights:

The forms from the Secretary of State’s Office were once posted online but not anymore. The practice ceased in 2013 because the law apparently doesn’t call for it. “The Office of the Secretary of State supports transparency and openness in government, however at this time there is no authorization in statute that permits us to provide these disclosures online,” wrote spokesman Ken Ortiz in an email. “When the legislature authorizes us to do so, we will provide them immediately.”