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Governmental Conduct Act

Chapter 10, Article 16 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the Governmental Conduct Act.

This is an excerpt from New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978.  For a complete listing, follow the paths indicated here.

10-16-1. Short title.

Chapter 10, Article 16 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the Governmental Conduct Act.

10-16-2. Definitions.

As used in the Governmental Conduct Act [this article]:

A. business means a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, organization or individual carrying on a business;
B. confidential information means information that by law or practice is not available to the public;
C. employment means rendering of services for compensation in the form of salary as an employee;
D. financial interest means an interest held by an individual, his spouse or dependent minor children that is:
(1)   an ownership interest in business; or
(2)   any employment or prospective employment for which negotiations have already begun;
E. official act means an official decision, recommendation, approval, disapproval or other action that involves the use of discretionary authority;
F. person means an individual or entity;
G. public officer or employee means any person who has been elected to, appointed to or hired for any state office and who receives compensation in the form of salary or is eligible for per diem or mileage, but excludes legislators and judges;
H. standards means the conduct required by the Governmental Conduct Act; and
I. substantial interest means an ownership interest that is greater than twenty percent.

10-16-3. Ethical principles of public service; certain official acts prohibited; penalty.

  1. A legislator, public officer or employee shall treat his government position as a public trust.  He shall use the powers and resources of public office only to advance the public interest and not to obtain personal benefits or pursue private interests incompatible with the public interest.
  2. A legislator, public officer or employee shall conduct himself in a manner that justifies the confidence placed in him by the people, at all times maintaining the integrity and discharging ethically the high responsibilities of public service.
  3. Full disclosure of real or potential conflicts of interest shall be a guiding principle for determining appropriate conduct.  At all times reasonable efforts shall be made to avoid undue influence and abuse of office in public service.
  4. No legislator, public officer or employee may request or receive, and no person may offer a legislator, public officer or employee, any money, thing of value or promise thereof that is conditioned upon or given in exchange for promised performance of an official act.  Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a fourth degree felony and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-18-15 NMSA 1978.

10-16-4. Official act for personal financial interest prohibited; disqualification from official act; providing a penalty.

A.     It is unlawful for a public officer or employee to take an official act for the primary purpose of directly enhancing his own financial interest or financial position.  Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a fourth degree felony and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-18-15 NMSA 1978.

B.     A public officer or employee shall disqualify himself from engaging in any official act directly affecting his financial interest.

C.     If the public interest so requires, the governor may make an exception to Subsection B of this section for a public officer or employee by expressing the exception and the reasons for it in writing.  The exception is effective when the public officer or employee files this writing with the secretary of state.

10-16-5. Repealed

10-16-6. Confidential Information

No legislator, public officer or employee shall use confidential information acquired by virtue of his state employment or office for his or another's private gain.

10-16-7.  Contracts involving public officers or employees

A state agency shall not enter into any contract with a public officer or employee of the state or with a business in which the public officer or employee has a substantial interest unless the public officer or employee has disclosed his substantial interest and unless the contract is awarded pursuant to the Procurement Code [13-1-28 NMSA 1978]; provided that this section does not apply to a contract of official employment with the state or to contracts made pursuant to the provisions of the University Research Park Act [ 21-28-1 to 21-28-25 NMSA 1978].

10-16-8. Contracts involving former public officers or employees; representation of clients after government service.

A.  A state agency shall not enter into a contract with, or take any action favorably affecting, any person or business that is:

(1)  represented personally in the matter by a person who has been a public officer or employee of the state within the preceding year if the value of the contract or action is in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000) and the contract is a direct result of an official act by the public officer or employee.

(2)  assisted in the transaction by a former officer or employee of the state whose official act, while in state employment, directly resulted in the agency's making that contract or taking that action.

B.  A former public officer or employee shall not represent a person in his dealings with the government on a matter in which the former public officer or employee participated personally and substantially while a public officer or employee.

C.  For a period of one year after leaving government service or employment, a former public officer or employee shall not represent for pay a person before the government agency at which the former public officer or employee served or worked.