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ABQ city councilor settles with Ethics Commission

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After facing allegations that he violated the New Mexico Government Conduct Act, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis has reached a settlement with the State Ethics Commission, which agreed to drop the allegations.

The Ethics Commission accused Lewis of violating state law, claiming he engaged in an official government act that directly affected his personal financial interests. The concern was that Lewis was involved in the paving and asphalt industry while also working in a political capacity to oppose the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Joint Air Quality Control Board, which could promulgate rules impacting the paving industry.

In 2023, Lewis was among the five city councilors who adopted an official position that a petition from the Air Quality Control Board “could be harmful to the welfare of the City . . .” At the same time, members of Albuquerque Pavement Association of New Mexico (of which Lewis eventually became executive director) opposed some aspects of the Air Quality Control Board’s rulemaking.

With the apparently overlapping interests, the State Ethics Commission took up the case.

Lewis cooperated with the ethics commission to reach a settlement. In the settlement concludes that Lewis “did not take an official action in furtherance of affecting or acquiring any personal financial interest.”

Lewis did agree to recuse himself of any City Council matters that relate to the Air Quality Control Board or the Albuquerque Pavement Association of New Mexico while he works for the association. If he fails to do that, he has agreed to pay double the usual civil penalty for violations of the Government Conduct Act.

With the agreement, the Ethics Commission agreed to drop allegations against Lewis. In response to the incident, Lewis told KRQE that he stands by his actions and that he is concerned the Ethics Commission could be used to unfairly attack politicians.

“While I respect the State Ethics Commission and its work, I am concerned that anonymous complaints can be used as political weapons against elected officials who serve in a non-partisan municipal office. The Attorney General and State Legislature should review the SEC’s process for considering frivolous anonymous complaints,” Lewis said. “My actions as a City Councilor relating to the Albuquerque / Bernalillo County Air Quality Control Board were entirely because I believe they were the appropriate actions to protect my constituents and the people of Albuquerque from what I believe was a renegade Board that was attempting to harm our community. I took no action at the behest of the Asphalt Pavement Association of New Mexico. I was not offered any position or financial incentive because of my role as a City Councilor.”

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