The state Senate on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe. (Photo by Austin Fisher / Source NM)
A complaint against state Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto has spurred a formal investigation.
Voting rights lobbyist Marianna Anaya filed the complaint last week with the Legislative Counsel Service under the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy.
In a letter released by her attorney, Anaya said Ivey-Soto touched her inappropriately during a function in 2015. The senator later said he apologized for “her experience,” of the incident. Anaya said his sexual harassment and misconduct continued and that he retaliated against her by stalling voting rights legislation she lobbied for in Santa Fe during January’s session.
Anaya told Source NM that the complaint is now under investigation.
Exactly what that means in the process is unclear. Legislative Counsel Service cannot talk about the matter publicly. Anaya and Ivey-Soto are also encouraged to not discuss specifics of the proceedings.
Privacy rules are spelled out in the anti-harassment policy used in the Roundhouse.
“A report or complaint of harassment and documents related to any investigation shall be maintained confidentially to the extent possible pursuant to applicable law, rule or policy, including the Inspection of Public Records Act,” the policy states.
Groups like Common Cause New Mexico have expressed concerns that the policy is restrictive and lacks transparency, because the public won’t know what lawmakers will be doing or even which phase of the process is unfolding.
Without Anaya releasing the letter, the public would also be in the dark about specific issues in the complaint.
Senate leadership can take action to expel or suspend Ivey-Soto if the investigation presents probable cause for misconduct.
Now that the complaint is moving forward, from here it appears the next step is for a subcommittee to hire outside counsel to investigate Anaya’s complaint. That investigator would then report the findings to the subcommittee, which will determine whether to proceed with further action, such as penalties.
It’s unclear if a subcommittee has been formed or if the search for counsel is underway. There are no clear guidelines for a timeline to complete an investigation.
Anaya called for Ivey-Soto’s resignation.
The Albuquerque-based senator was unavailable for comment on Wednesday, March 2, before press time. We’ll update this story if we hear back.
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