Shortly following Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s first court appearance Tuesday morning, state lawmakers approved a House subcommittee to consider impeaching her. Lawmakers in the interim Legislative Council, which is made up of members of both the House and Senate, approved $250,000 in funding to pay for the impeachment special committee. The funding will likely go towards the hire of outside counsel. State House of Representatives Speaker Don Tripp, R-Socorro, appointed a panel of bipartisan lawmakers to investigate whether Duran should be impeached last week. He told committee members that he anticipated the panel would want money to spend on lawyers. Tripp also made the committee members official during the Legislative Council meeting.
Duran is accused of moving money from campaign accounts to personal accounts. Attorney General Hector Balderas filed 64 criminal counts against Duran in court last month, which also detailed her withdrawals of large amounts of cash at various casinos.
Duran pleaded not guilty to the charges in Santa Fe district court. Her arraignment bars her from stepping into casinos and drinking alcohol before trial. She still may have contact with her office, though cannot discuss the case.