Speaker Ben Lujan (D-Santa Fe) will appoint a state House subcommittee this fall to investigate impeaching Public Regulation Commissioner Jerome Block, according to a letter he sent out today.
The subcommittee, to be made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, will "investigate and make recommendations" on whether the House should impeach Block. It will be co-chaired by members of both parties.
Allegations against Block have mounted all summer. He's accused of car theft and improper use of state money for buying $8,000 worth of gas. Although many, including his fellow PRC members, have called for his resignation, Block has vowed to stay the course, which he's done successfully when facing troubles in the past.
His troubled behavior allegedly dates back to when he was a grade-school bully.
Here's Lujan's letter, addressed to state Reps. Ken Martinez (D-Grants), Thomas Taylor (R-San Juan County), Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D-Albuquerque) and David Bratton (R-Hobbs), in its entirety:
Because of the seriousness of the allegations facing the public regulation commissioner from District 3, I want you and the other leaders of the house of representatives to know that when we convene in special session on September 6, I intend to appoint a subcommittee of the House Rules and Order of Business Committee to investigate and make recommendations on whether the house should consider impeachment proceedings against the commissioner. It is my intention that the subcommittee consist of an equal number of members of the majority and minority parties, be co-chaired by a member from the majority party and a member from the minority party and have the authority to retain special counsel as necessary.
While I expect that the subcommittee will work expeditiously within the constraints imposed by the numerous other, equally contentious issues that the legislature will be considering during the special session, I will ask the New Mexico Legislative Council to give the subcommittee authority to meet in the interim if necessary.
As you know, I do not have the authority to appoint such a subcommittee before the house is convened; in fact, as a formality, I will entertain a motion to this effect from the majority floor leader, and I hope that the motion will be approved without objection. I am also asking the two floor leaders to provide me with names for my consideration of appointees to the subcommittee before we convene.
I am confident that each of us appreciates the gravity of this action, and I expect that the house of representatives will approach this matter with the same dignity and responsibility that it has in the past when facing similar issues.