Rep. Georgene Louis
State Ethics Commission News:
ALBUQUERQUE — The State Ethics Commission (Commission) announces that in response to a demand letter, Dist. 26 Rep. Georgene Louis, D-Bernalillo, paid the Commission $250—the amount of the statutorily available fine for violation of Section 10-16-3(A) of the Governmental Conduct Act—in exchange for the Commission’s agreement not to file a civil enforcement action against her.
The night of Feb. 13, a Santa Fe Police Department (SFPD) sergeant stopped Rep. Louis on Saint Francis Drive and subsequently arrested her.
After reviewing the lapel footage taken by the SFPD sergeant, the State Ethics Commission concluded that Rep. Louis violated the Governmental Conduct Act by referencing her legislative office and displaying her legislative license plate in an attempt to obtain favorable treatment from the SFPD sergeant—either through a direct appeal for favorable treatment or by persuading the sergeant that the cause of her behavior and appearance was fatigue from legislative service, not the effects of alcohol.
The Commission’s executive director made a settlement demand April 5, offering Rep. Louis the opportunity to pay the amount equivalent to the statutory fine ($250), in exchange for the Commission refraining from filing a civil enforcement action in state court. April 27, Rep. Louis paid the Commission’s demand.
Section 10-16-3(A) of the Governmental Conduct Act provides:
- A legislator or public officer or employee shall treat the legislator’s or public officer’s or employee’s government position as a public trust.
- The legislator or public officer or employee shall use the powers and resources of public office only to advance the public interest and not to obtain personal benefits or pursue private interests.
“In recent years, New Mexico has witnessed elected officials refer to their elected office to pursue a private interest during a law enforcement investigation into their conduct,” Commission Director Jeremy Farris said. “The Governmental Conduct Act prohibits such use of the powers and resources of public office. The State Ethics Commission will make every effort to enforce that prohibition.”
The State Ethics Commission is a constitutionally independent state agency that promotes the integrity of state government through the interpretation, enforcement and improvement of New Mexico’s campaign finance, procurement, and governmental conduct laws.
Related materials to this matter are attached.
For more information about the State Ethics Commission visit www.sec.state.nm.us.