By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Among 10 representatives chosen to serve on an impeachment committee is a Clovis resident, Rep. Anna Crook, R.-Clovis.
The bi-partisan committee, comprised of five republicans and five democrats, developed procedures and determined whether or not there was probable cause to impeach State Treasurer Robert Vigil.
State legislators will enter into impeachment proceedings on Oct. 28, only if clear evidence against Vigil is presented, Crook said.
Crook said Monday that she is honored to serve on the committee, which she called strictly a “fact-finding” group.
“I feel that (serving on the committee) is an honor since this is the first time (impeachment) has ever occurred (in New Mexico),” Crook said from Santa Fe where the House wrapped up its fifth day of a special House session.
Vigil and former treasurer Michael Montoya have been charged with extortion in a federal investigation into kickbacks involving state investments.
Vigil and Montoya pleaded not guilty, however, federal prosecutors allege that kickbacks were ordered from investment advisers in exchange for the treasurer’s office directing state business to them, the Associated Press reported.
“The general public that I have heard from thinks that it is just wrong for an individual that has been indicted to continue to serve and receive their salary,” Crook said.
The impeachment committee, a subcommitee of the larger Rules and Ethics Committee, was formed Friday. Crook said the impeachment committee has met daily since its formation.
“Basically, we tried to put impeachment procedures in place. We want to do this right since there have been no previous impeachment proceedings (in the state),” Crook said.
She said the committee researched the impeachment procedures of other states, such as New Hampshire and Arizona.
“The committee has been very fair and the procedures are very fair,” Crook said.
Former Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court Paul J. Kennedy was hired by the committee to serve as special counsel. Crook said he will present his findings to the impeachment committee, who then will report to the Rules and Ethics Committee. The Rules and Ethics Committee will report findings to the House, Crook said.