SANTA FE (KSMX)- House Republican Leadership offered sharp criticism to Governor Lujan Grisham’s response to a bipartisan investigation regarding emergency government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following is a response from House Republican Leader, Jim Townsend.
The Governor indicated in her “justification” as to why she took $30 million out of the state treasury without legislative authorization that bipartisan concerns about her actions were “pedantic” or that legislators were paying too much attention to minor details. In reaction to the Governor’s disrespectful correspondence, House Republicans urged the Legislature’s governing council, in a meeting taking place tomorrow August 12, to take appropriate action to address the Governor’s improper appropriation of taxpayers’ money and preserve the Legislature’s sole constitutional authority to appropriate money.
“The Governor and her administration might think that a bipartisan investigation to protect taxpayers is a minor detail, but I can assure them that they work for the people and not the other way around,” said House Republican Leader Jim Townsend (Artesia). “I surely hope Speaker Egolf and Senate Pro Tempore Papen take as much offense as we do in regards to this administration’s self-serving behavior and complete disregard for New Mexico’s constitution. A crisis does not waive transparency or the rule of law, in fact, the people demand more openness and accountability from government in times of difficulty. Thus far, the Governor has hidden her decision making behind closed doors in Santa Fe.”
House Republican leadership blasted the Governor for her two-page effort to sidestep responsibility to transparency and offering no real rationale for overstepping her constitutional authority. House Republicans also alluded to the fact that if the Governor had called a special session of the Legislature and requested a $30 million supplemental appropriation, this bipartisan inquiry could have been avoided. Instead, the Governor acted unilaterally and refused to request legislative approval for emergency dollars needed for the COVID-19 response.