The House Special Investigatory Committee met Monday for the first time to investigate fraud, embezzlement and money laundering charges against New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran and gave its chair members the authority to hire a lawyer. The mood was somber and serious as the panel of five Republicans and five Democrats discussed whether the accusations and possible violations of elections laws should lead to her impeachment. “We have a bipartisan committee who’s going to look at all the facts and look at if not only is there criminal violations – but are there ethical violations that have compromised her ability to perform her duties,” said Rep. Bill Rehm, R-Albuqerque, a member of the committee.
“Our job is actually to evaluate the credibility of that information, and whatever other information we’re given, to then make a decision,” said another committee member, Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces. “So at the beginning of that process, I won’t prejudge any of it. Certainly the secretary is entitled to her due process rights.”
Freshman Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, is one of four lawyers on the committee, which also has two retired officers on it, including Rehm. “I’m a licensed attorney practicing for over 10 years now, so I’m hoping that my experience as an attorney will help prepare me for this huge task that is before me now,” Maestas Barnes said.
Full Article: Lawmakers meet on secretary of state case | KOB.com.