A former cabinet member getting charged with multiple crimes is one heck of a big deal, but with so many GOP official and candidates getting into serious legal and ethics scandals, (Wayne Johnson’s campaign finance violation fines and sanctions, JoHanna Cox’s legal malpractice lawsuits and sloppy campaign finance reports, Pat Lyons’ suspicious land deals, Monica Youngblood’s aggravated DWI charges, and Michael Hendricks’ concealment of campaign donors), it feels like just another week in Susana Martinez’s New Mexico.
“This is what GOP leadership (or lack thereof) gets you,” said Marg Elliston, Chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico. “Susana Martinez has been out for a burger for the last 8 years and let her cronies run wild. Steve Pearce, who was twice named one of the ‘most corrupt members of Congress,’ and tried to defund the Office of Congressional Ethics for investigating his grift, would bring New Mexico Republican sleaze to a new level.”
June 2016: Pearce proposed to eliminate the entire budget for the House Office of Congressional Ethics after his office was investigated.
Las Cruces Sun-News, 9/26/16: “On June 10, 2016 Congressman Steve Pearce acknowledged an ethics investigation into staff in his office and proposed to eliminate the investigators who conducted it. The allegations were dismissed and would have remained confidential had Pearce not taken to the floor of the US House of Representatives (on live TV!) and proposed to eliminate the entire funding for the House Office of Congressional Ethics which investigates misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. Pearce’s proposed legislation was resoundingly defeated in a bi-partisan vote.”
2007 & 2008: Pearce was named one of the most corrupt members of Congress for failing to disclose his business interests.
In September 2007 and September 2008, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Pearce to their lists of the 22 and 20 most corrupt members of Congress. Both years, the watchdog group cited Pearce’s failure to report the sale of LEA Fishing Tools and the lobbying he did for drilling in Otero Mesa, which would benefit a major contributor.
2007: Pearce Failed to Report the Sale of Lea Fishing on His Personal Financial Disclosure Form.CREW noted: Rep. Pearce was the president of Lea Fishing Tools from which, in 2002, he drew a salary of $277,352 and held stock worth between $1 and $5 million. In the fall of 2003, Rep. Pearce sold the company’s assets to Key Energy, in exchange for 542,477 shares of common stock. Rep. Pearce failed to report the transaction on his 2003 financial disclosure report. In that report, Rep. Pearce indicated only that he was the president of Trinity Industries, Inc. “F/K/A Lea Fishing Tools, Inc.” and that he held between $5 and $25 million of stock in the company. Given that all of Lea Fishing Tools’ assets were transferred to Key Energy, it appears that Trinity Industries may be a holding company for the Key Energy stock, but this is unclear. […] After selling Lea Fishing Tools’ assets to Key Energy, Rep. Pearce was required to report the sale on his financial disclosure form as a transaction. […] Rep. Pearce appears to have violated the Ethics in Government Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and House rules by failing to list the sale of Lea Fishing Tools’ assets on his financial disclosure forms. [CREW’s Most Corrupt, 9/23/07]
1997: Pearce failed to disclose that he served on the board of a construction company.
Albuquerque Journal, 6/01/97: Pearce failed to disclose on his 1997 personal financial disclosure form “that he serves on the board of a construction company. Pearce said he didn’t know whether he forgot to list the corporation or was told he didn’t have to list it since the company is currently not doing business.”