Ethics allegations against Dow advance


Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – State Ethics Commission attorney general found probable reason to conclude Republican candidate Republican gubernatorial representative Rebecca Dow violated state law by not disclosing correctly its income from a nonprofit group that received state funding, among other allegations, according to documents released Friday.

Findings are not a final decision. The case now goes to a retired judge who will serve as a hearing officer to consider the allegations.

Dow vigorously disputes the allegations against her and has said she was being targeted for political reasons.

“I look forward to the opportunity to have a hearing before a judge, rather than a continuation of the witch-hunt by staff employed at the ethics commission,” she said Friday evening. “Public documents will show how much state Ethics Commission office workers have done to find fault against me, a Republican, while the blatant unethical acts of the ruling Democrats are swiftly rejected. “

Representative Rebecca Dow

Dow joined State House in 2017 and launched a campaign for governor last year. She was running for re-election in 2020 when the ethics complaint was filed.

In 390 pages of documents released Friday, Walker Boyd, general counsel for the ethics commission, said he had found probable cause for concluding that Dow violated the state’s financial disclosure law by failing to report over $ 5,000 in gross income from AppleTree Educational Center in 2019 and not disclosing the nature of his work for the center.

Dow is the founder and former CEO of AppleTree, a nonprofit that serves children and families in Sierra County, according to Boyd’s survey, and most of his income comes from grants and contracts from the ‘State.

Boyd also found probable cause to support allegations that Dow represented the center before three state agencies, in violation of the Government Conduct Act. State law limits when legislators can represent a client before a public body.

In her own ethics documents, Dow says she consulted with lawyers in the Legislative Council Service on how to file her disclosure forms and was told she did not need to register AppleTree. . She also says she earned so little as a consultant for AppleTree that she was under no obligation to report it.

The state’s Financial Disclosure Act requires lawmakers and other officials to file annual reports describing their sources of income in excess of $ 5,000 and whether they have represented clients to state agencies.

The allegations against Dow are part of a complaint filed in September 2020 by Karen Whitlock, Dow’s Democratic opponent that year. Some of the allegations were previously dismissed and are no longer part of the case.

But the probable cause findings are set to be the subject of a public hearing before retired US judge Alan C. Torgerson.

Boyd said he found evidence suggesting that Dow had violated another law – which focused on regulating lobbyists – but was not forwarding the allegation to the hearing officer because it was not of one of the charges contained in the original ethics complaint.

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