Thursday, April 17, 2008

Monahan's ethics contest winning entry

marjorie says...

Joe Monahan launched a student contest a couple of months ago regarding ethics legislation. To refresh your memory, on Monday, February 25, Joe wrote:

We'll award a $500.00 first place prize and a $150.00 second place prize to the students who submit the best lobbying/PR plan to win legislative approval to limit campaign contributions in NM. A panel of esteemed Alligators will be our judges. We'll share the winning plan on this blog and with the state's political leadership.
Joe announced the winner last week but didn't share the results on his website. Instead, Common Cause followed-up with the student who agreed to let his winning essay be posted on the internet. You be the judge.

The main recommendation I take away from the essay is that the legislature is already ethical, that we have nothing to worry about, and that at the most the State legislature should spend next year examining what "ethics" means. So, in other words, no lobbying/PR plan is necessary. Nor was one provided. Since Joe awarded this essay the prize, should we infer that this is what Joe believes as well? And could that be the reason he publicly urged donors of Common Cause to rethink who they give money to?

Remember the 2006 corruption case that brought down both the current and former State Treasurer? The former treasurer, Michael Montoya said he took the bribes because he needed the money:
Montoya said in the plea agreement that when he took office, he was using his entire salary to repay large campaign debts. Soon after, he said he began taking bribes to cover his living expenses. He said he found it was easy to get bribes from people who wanted to keep or obtain business with the state treasurer's office.
And to bring it full circle, here's a blog post by M.G. Bralley about one of those people who may have given the bribes. Be sure to look at the other activities he's been involved with over the years.

I just thought I'd offer up those tidbits as a refresher about what "ethics reform" attempts to address...

While you're at the Common Cause website, check out the matching grant they received for their work to expand public financing of electoral campaigns throughout the state. This means that between now and the end of the year Common Cause will get one dollar for every dollar donated.

**I have been taken to task by M.G. Bralley for misrepresenting what he said above. He has a good point--no bribery has been proven against that individual, and no charges brought, despite Montoya's statement. Thanks for checking me MGB. (By the way, m-pyre readers, the photo essays on Bralley's blogs are always interesting--you should all check them out).