House bill would stop treasurer from taking contractor contributions

By Barry Massey

SANTA FE — The House approved a measure Thursday to prohibit the state treasurer from accepting campaign contributions from contractors who do business with the office.

The measure is part of an anti-corruption package that Gov. Bill Richardson recommended to the Legislature in the wake of a kickback scandal involving two former treasurers.

Under the bill, the state Board of Finance will have more authority to oversee the treasurer’s investment of public money and will collect information to help spot potential conflicts of interest involving the treasurer.

The measure would require the treasurer and candidates for the office to disclose campaign contributors to the board. The disclosure reports — required within 30 days of receiving a contribution of $250 or more — would include the contributor’s business affiliation and whether the contributor has any business ties to the treasurer’s office or its employees.

The legislation also would prohibit the treasurer or treasurer’s office employees from accepting accept campaign contributions or “any other thing of value” from an individual or company with a contract with the office.

The treasurer and his staff would be required to file a yearly financial disclosure report to the board, listing any relationships with banks, financial advisers and others who conduct business or are seeking to do work for the treasurer’s office.