The Latest: Embattled NM secretary of state visits offie

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 15, 2015 4:18 PM
The Latest: Embattled NM secretary of state visits offie

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The latest on fraud charges against New Mexico's secretary of state (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

Embattled New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has made her first visit to her office since being charged more than two weeks ago with fraud, money laundering and other counts.

Duran dropped by Tuesday following her arraignment in state district court in Santa Fe.

A spokesman for the secretary of state's office, Ken Ortiz, says Duran met with her top staffers to discuss upcoming deadlines and projects related to the 2016 election season.

The office oversees enforcement of the state's election and campaign finance laws.

Duran is accused of funneling some $13,000 in campaign contributions to personal bank accounts and withdrawing large sums of cash at casinos around the state.

She pleaded not guilty to the 64 counts outlined in a criminal complaint filed by the state attorney general's office.

___

11:15 a.m.

A panel of New Mexico lawmakers has cleared the way for an investigation into fraud charges against one of the state's highest ranking officials.

The Legislative Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve up to $250,000 for a special committee to look into the charges against Secretary of State Dianna Duran.

The two-term Republican is accused of funneling campaign donations into her personal bank accounts and withdrawing large sums of money at casinos. She pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Officials say the bipartisan committee hopes to have its first meeting before month's end.

Under the state constitution, impeachment would require a majority vote in the 70-member House. If that happens, the Senate would hold a trial, and a two-thirds vote would be necessary to convict Duran — permanently removing her from office.

___

9:30 a.m.

One of New Mexico's highest-ranking state officials has pleaded not guilty to charges that she funneled campaign contributions to her personal bank accounts and withdrew large sums of money at casinos around the state.

Two-term Republican Secretary of State Dianna Duran appeared in state district court Tuesday, marking her first public appearance since the charges were leveled in a 64-count complaint more than two weeks ago.

She also has been a no-show at her $85,000-a-year elected post with the exception of some conference calls with staff.

The charges have sent shockwaves through political circles and raised questions about the enforcement of the state's election and campaign finance reporting laws.

Calls for Duran to resign continue and a special committee of state lawmakers is expected to begin work this week as part of impeachment proceedings.