The Commission receives two types of ethics complaints: Informal Complaints, submitted through the Informal Complaint Form, or Administrative Complaints, submitted through the Administrative Case Proceedings Portal. Please review the information below before submitting a complaint.
Report an Ethics Complaint
Complaint Quick Guide
What type of complaint should I submit?
An Informal Complaint allows anyone to provide the Commission with information regarding violations of New Mexico’s ethics laws committed by either state or local government officials or employees. Through this informal process, members of the public can submit information to the Commission without the target necessarily knowing that the complainant submitted any information about their conduct. The process is simple, involving an online form that provides the Commission’s staff with information on the alleged misconduct. Based on that investigation, the Commission may file a civil lawsuit to remedy violations of New Mexico’s ethics laws. After receiving an informal complaint, the Commission has the choice whether to pursue it.
If you would like to file an informal complaint, please view the fillable form here. If you would like more information on our informal complaint process, please review the information below.
The Administrative Complaint process requires creating an account through the Commission’s Proceedings Portal. The administrative complaint process enables the Commission to adjudicate complaints alleging that one or more named individuals violated New Mexico’s ethics laws. An overview of the Commission’s jurisdiction for Administrative Complaints can be found on the FAQ information page.
This administrative process is different from the informal complaint process in several respects. First, the Commission may only consider administrative complaints that relate to the state (not local) level of government. Second, if the Commission has jurisdiction, it must investigate the complaint and decide whether it has merit. Third, administrative complaints must be signed and sworn to by the complainant, and the respondent is provided with a copy of the complaint and an opportunity to respond; as such, administrative complaints cannot be filed anonymously.
When filing an Administrative Complaint please pay attention to the Commission’s jurisdiction. The Commission receives and dismisses many administrative complaints that are outside its jurisdiction, particularly administrative complaints alleged against officials and employees of local government entities such as counties or municipalities. The Commission will not investigate administrative complaints outside of the Commission’s jurisdiction and will dismiss them.
If you would like to file an Administrative Complaint, please click HERE. If you would like to read more information on the administrative complaint process, please review the information below or refer to our FAQ page.
To view an organizational flow chart to help you decide what type of complaint you might want submit please see here. Please be aware that this guide is intended to be informational and cannot provide a clear answer to every situation or inquiry. If you have any questions about the Commission’s complaint process in general, please contact our office at email@example.com or call us at 505-554-7706.
File an Informal Ethics Complaint
Informal Complaint Overview
File an informal complaint
To file an Informal Complaint with the State Ethics Commission please visit our online fillable complaint form.
Can I file my informal complaint anonymously?
Yes. Filing an Informal Complaint is the ONLY way that members of the public can file a complaint with the Commission without the subject of the complaint knowing.
What laws does the Commission have enforcement authority over?
The Commission has the authority to file civil enforcement actions to remedy violations of several laws, including:
What is the Informal Complaint process?
After receiving an informal complaint, the Commission’s staff will assess whether the informal complaint alleges a violation of the laws within the Commission’s enforcement authority and whether the informal complaint merits an investigation.
The Commission’s staff may investigate informal complaints. Investigations could include a review of publicly available information, witness interviews, or petitions to a court for the issuance of subpoenas.
Following an investigation, if the Executive Director concludes that the subject of the investigation has violated one or more of New Mexico’s ethics laws, the Director will ask the Commission to approve the filing of a lawsuit in state district court. If the Commission authorizes the filing of a lawsuit, the Commission’s attorney staff will commence and litigate a civil enforcement action to remedy the violation of New Mexico’s ethics laws.
Will I be notified about the status of my Informal Complaint?
Not necessarily. If the Executive Director or their designee decides that an informal complaint is unsubstantiated, beyond the Commission’s authority, or is not a reasonable use of the Commission’s resources, the Director may decide not to take action on an informal complaint. However, the Commission’s staff may reach out for more information as appropriate.
Is an informal complaint public?
If the Commission decides to file a civil enforcement action, that decision will be public, as will the court case.
File an Administrative Ethics Complaint
Administrative Complaint Overview
File an Administrative Ethics Complaint
To file an administrative complaint with the Commission please visit our Administrative Case Proceedings Portal.
Can I file an anonymous administrative complaint?
No. Please note that to file an administrative complaint, you must sign and swear to the complaint, and the Commission must provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint.
Administrative Complaint Process
- Jurisdiction Review: After a complaint is filed, the Executive Director or their designee will determine if the complaint falls within the Commission’s jurisdiction. The respondent can respond or request dismissal.
- Probable Cause Review: If the Commission has jurisdiction, the General Counsel investigates the complaint to determine if there’s probable cause. This may involve collecting evidence, like witness depositions and documents. If needed, the Commission can request a court subpoena. If the General Counsel believes there is probable cause, the case is sent to a hearing officer.
- Public Hearing: If the General Counsel believes there is probable cause, and a hearing officer agrees, then a public hearing will be set. The rules of evidence apply at the public hearing. After the hearing, the hearing officer decides if the respondent violated the law, and this decision can be appealed to the full Commission.
- Appeal: Except for cases dismissed due to lack of probable cause, both the respondent and complainant can appeal the hearing officer’s decision. The full Commission considers appeals based on oral arguments and issues a final decision.
- Settlement: The General Counsel can negotiate a settlement at any point in the case, subject to Commission approval. If approved, the complaint and settlement terms are made public.
Administrative Complaint Jurisdiction
The Commission has jurisdiction to adjudicate whether officials and employees of the legislative and executive branches of state government, candidates, persons subject to the Campaign Reporting Act, government contractors, lobbyists, and lobbyists’ employers have violated the following statutes and constitutional provisions:
- Campaign Reporting Act
- Financial Disclosure Act
- Gift Act
- Lobbyist Regulation Act
- Voter Action Act
- Governmental Conduct Act
- Procurement Code
- State Ethics Commission Act
- Article 9, Section 14 of the New Mexico Constitution.
For a more in-depth look into the Commission’s Administrative Complaint Process please visit our FAQ page.
Is an Administrative Complaint public?
The State Ethics Commission initially treats all complaints as confidential. However, the Commission will make a complaint available to the public if three conditions are met: (i) the Commission has jurisdiction over the complaint; (ii) the Complaint is supported by probable cause; and (iii) the Respondent is notified that a public hearing will be set. Alternatively, if a case is resolved via a settlement agreement that the Commission approves, the Commission will also make available to the public both the complaint and the terms of the settlement. Complaints that are found to be frivolous or unsubstantiated by the General Counsel are dismissed and not made public.