Eric Griego v. Government Transparency

It’s tough these days for politicians to be against government transparency. With technology widely available, large majorities of Americans have decided that governments — which theoretically work for them, the taxpayer — should be as open and accessible as possible. And, with the Internet, that can be quite open as Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry has shown.

Unfortunately, when one is running for Congress, they have a need for grandstanding and appearing to be “for the people” when they are not. Enter Eric Griego and SB 30. SB 30, introduced by Sen. Sander Rue would simply enshrine in law that information currently available at New Mexico’s Sunshine Portal, will continue to be made available under future administrations.

Sounds like a slam-dunk, right? Not for Griego the opportunist. He submitted and convinced his fellow Democrats to support a floor amendment to create “a directory of all employee positions of every person, corporation or entity with which the state contracts, identified by position title, salary and the name of the individual that holds the position.”

For starters, this amendment would represent an administrative nightmare for New Mexico government and businesses alike. Imagine the state buying or leasing police cars from Ford. Do we really need to know everyone that works for those companies? What if General Electric provides some “renewable energy” for the state? Issues abound (like, how often does this list need to be updated?) and, more importantly, the employees of these businesses (and the hundreds of smaller ones that contract with New Mexico) are not government workers and therefore are not subject to the same level of transparency.

So, Griego may claim that he wants transparency and open government, but the reality is much different.