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Ethics watchdog gives New Mexico low marks

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A watchdog group on ethics in government is giving the state of New Mexico low marks for safeguards designed to discourage corruption.

The Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for Integrity on Thursday ranked New Mexico among the 10 worst states when it comes to ethics oversight, restrictions on gifts to public officials and disclosure of political spending by independent groups.

New Mexico voters will decide in the November election whether to create an independent ethics commission to evaluate complaints against elected and appointed officials amid a string of corruption scandals.

The state received high marks for restrictions on gifts to public officials.

Complaints against top public officials currently are reviewed initially by agencies overseen by partisan elected officials such as the attorney general, secretary of state or state auditor.

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