SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – A retiree New Mexico The judge has filed an ethics complaint against a powerful lawmaker who is also a noted lawyer. The complaint alleges that House Speaker Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) has tabled a bill that could make him big money. In response to this, Rep. Egolf calls the complaint “unfounded”.
Former District Judge Sandra Price filed the complaint against Rep. Egolf with the last week New Mexico State Ethics Committee. “I took a break from filing this ethics complaint because as a judge it is very serious to do,” Price said.
The law on civil rights goes to the Senate
At the center of the complaint is House Bill 4 or that New Mexico Civil Rights Act. Egolf sponsored and voted for the bill. This would allow people to sue public entities such as city and county governments in state courts for violating the New Mexico Constitutional Bill of Rights, rather than tackling civil rights violations in federal courts.
“There is a certain way to protect a wider range of rights than you can see at the federal level,” said Rep. Egolf during the House Judiciary Committee last week. He said it wouldn’t open the floodgates for lawsuits.
However, Price fears that the House Speaker is not being completely honest and transparent. Egolf is a lawyer in Santa Fe. Civil rights litigation is one of several types of cases listed on his law firm’s website in describing the lawsuits he handles. So Price claims Rep. Egolf could make money if his bill is legally signed. “At least he should have disclosed that this legislation could benefit him financially,” said Price.
Rep. Egolf said in a statement: “The complaint is unfounded and clearly designed to distract me from my job and to keep me from fighting for the people of New Mexico.” His lawyer Andrew Schultz said the bill created a whole new breed of lawsuit. Hence, there is no evidence of who could benefit from it. “There is currently no such reason for measures,” said Schultz. “So it is completely speculative and hypothetical to say that a lawyer will benefit from it.”
He also noted, “We have part-time citizenship legislation, and a significant number of the members of that legislation are lawyers, and a significant number of the members who are lawyers ultimately deal with matters that are before state law. ”
Schultz said he would file a motion with the ethics committee to reject the “failure to state a claim” complaint. Meanwhile, Price said it would be fine if the ethics committee ultimately didn’t determine there was a violation here. She said she just wanted to at least make sure everyone was aware of these concerns and had taken a close look at the issue. She said she had no political reasons to file the complaint. In fact, like Egolf, she said she was a democrat.
House Bill 4 consisted of 39 through 29 in the house. It’s going to the Senate now.