The reported resignation saves New Mexico taxpayers most of the estimated $250,000 an impeachment probe would have cost.
Multiple news outlets have reported that Secretary of State Dianna Duran has resigned.
The resignation, which reportedly was announced at 1 a.m., came hours before Duran was to appear at Santa Fe District Court on a hearing related to charges of embezzlement, fraud and identity theft.
It also comes six days before a legislative committee was to sit down and begin the grueling process of hearing testimony for a likely House impeachment vote and a trial before the New Mexico Senate. Duran would have been the first constitutional officer in New Mexico history to face impeachment.
The reported resignation saves New Mexico taxpayers most of the estimated $250,000 an impeachment probe would have cost. Gov. Susana Martinez will appoint Duran’s replacement.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that New Mexico Democratic Chair Debra Haaland wrote in an email:
“In light of Secretary Duran’s apparent resignation, I am hopeful that we can move forward with a fair election in 2016, and that trust can be restored in the Secretary of State’s office,” Haaland wrote. “We will have a strong Democratic candidate that will take a hard look at the drop in voter participation in New Mexico as well as the other various issues facing the Secretary of State’s office.”
Duran was charged with 64 counts of fraud, embezzlement and one count of identity theft. The fraud and embezzlement charges involved her use of campaign funds at casinos around New Mexico. The identity theft charge involved her alleged use of the name of a Republican legislator in campaign materials denoting him as treasurer of her campaign. In actuality, the legislator had no involvement in her campaign.
Despite the resignation, New Mexico Attorney General is expected to proceed with the prosecution.
Pat Davis, head of the progressive organzation ProgressNowNW.org, wrote that Duran resigned “n the middle of the night, and just hours before her next criminal hearing, Dianna Duran’s office announced that it was canceling the public hearing where we were set to deliver more than 1,200 petition signatures calling for her to stop her attempts to change election rules she is accused of breaking. “