Settlement adopted in Rebecca Dow ethics case - Albuquerque Journal

Settlement adopted in Rebecca Dow ethics case

Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, speaks during the rally for life at the Roundhouse in January. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The State Ethics Commission unanimously approved a settlement Friday with state Rep. Rebecca Dow requiring her to pay a $500 civil penalty for violations of the state Governmental Conduct Act.

She also paid court-ordered sanctions – totalling about $4,115 – at one point while contesting the ethics complaint against her. The fines came after she initially refused to sit for a court-ordered deposition.

The settlement says Dow will pay the $500 civil penalty for two violations of the law restricting when lawmakers may represent someone before state agencies. It’s the maximum fine allowed: $250 for each violation.

The allegations centered on Dow’s work for AppleTree, a nonprofit group she founded that is funded mostly by state contracts and grants, according to documents filed in the ethics case.

The ethics commission’s general counsel cited emails Dow had sent to the Public Education Department and an invoice she submitted to AppleTree listing her meetings with Cabinet secretaries as evidence that she had violated the law.

The Governmental Conduct Act prohibits state lawmakers from representing a person before a state agency unless the lawmaker is unpaid or working on behalf of a constituent, among other exceptions.

Dow, a Truth or Consequences Republican who ran unsuccessfully for governor this year, has maintained that she worked diligently to comply with the law.

In a written statement Friday, she noted that the ethics complaint was filed by her Democratic opponent in the 2020 general election campaign and used in attack ads. The allegations, she said, were outlandish.

“Yet in an effort to justify their existence, the bureaucrats at the office of the ethics commission continued digging, and have decided emails sent from my legislative account represented misconduct,” Dow said. “I disagree, yet have decided to settle in order to end their taxpayer-funded witch hunt and allow the nonprofit I founded and still care deeply about to move forward with their mission of serving New Mexico families and children.”

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