New Mexico secretary of state resigns amid fraud allegations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has resigned from office amid a fraud investigation that alleges she siphoned off thousands of dollars from her election account and withdrew the money at casinos around the state.
Duran attorney Erlinda Johnson and Gov. Susana Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said Duran's resignation was effective immediately. Duran submitted her resignation last night, Johnson said in an email to The Associated Press.
As secretary of state, the Republican was one of New Mexico's highest-ranking elected officials. She was elected to a second term as secretary of state last year and was the first Republican elected to the post in New Mexico since 1928.
Duran has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she misused campaign donations by funneling some $13,000 into personal accounts and filed false campaign finance reports with her own office.
The secretary of state's office is responsible for enforcing New Mexico's elections and campaign finance laws.
Her critics were appalled that as the state official in charge of regulating campaign finance, that Duran would be accused of violating the law.
State legislators had launched an investigation that could have led to impeachment proceedings.
Duran declared her innocence and called it a selective prosecution mounted by a Democratic attorney general.
The case has raised questions about the integrity of New Mexico's campaign finance system, and open government advocates have called for reforms as well as an audit of all campaign finance reports and the creation of a state ethics commission in the wake of the probe.