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Last ethics complaint against New Mexico speaker dismissed

July 16, 2021 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A State Ethics Commission hearing officer has dismissed the third and final complaint accusing New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf of failing to disclose a conflict of interest when he pushed for civil rights legislation approved earlier this year.

Hearing officer James Starznyski, a retired federal bankruptcy judge, said in a nine-page opinion this week that the complaint failed to prove a “claim upon which relief can be granted.”

Another retired judge, Sandra Price, claimed in the complaint that Egolf, a Santa Fe Democrat, had a conflict because he works as an attorney whose business would benefit from the state Civil Rights Act that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law in April.

The measure allows for the filing of lawsuits in state court to recover financial damages if a public agency or officer violates a person’s rights under the state Bill of Rights.

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The commission dismissed two other complaints against Egolf in April. It had referred the third to the hearing officer for review and an opinion.

Egolf said he believed from the beginning the complaint was an attempt to distract him from his work and deter him from bringing forth the legislation he says will benefit all New Mexicans.