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Attorney General’s Office files ethics complaint against Youngblood over DWI arrest

September 28, 2018

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint with a legislative ethics committee against state Rep. Monica Youngblood, accusing the Albuquerque Republican of using her position as a lawmaker to try talking her way out of an arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

A judge convicted Youngblood of aggravated DWI on Tuesday following her arrest late one night in May at a police checkpoint. An officer said she smelled of alcohol and performed poorly on field sobriety tests.

Video of the episode recorded by police also showed Youngblood pleading with officers, invoking her work in the Legislature supporting tough-on-crime policies.

Youngblood refused a breath-alcohol test, and at one point she told police: “I literally fight for you guys.”

At another point, Youngblood said: “So many people tell me that you guys treat people of color like [expletive] and I always stood up for you.”

In a letter to Youngblood on Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Dylan Lange wrote that Youngblood violated ethics laws as well as rules for members of the state House of Representatives.

“Your statements recorded on the police lapel camera video on the night of your arrest show a clear intent to use your position as a lawmaker to improperly influence officers during your detainment and arrest and your use of excessive derogatory language towards law enforcement officials is repugnant,” Lange wrote.

Lange cited a part of state law that says “a legislator shall use the powers of public office only to advance the public interest and not to obtain personal benefits or pursue private interest.” And he cited another provision saying legislators “shall conduct themselves in a manner that justifies the confidence placed in them by the people, at all times maintaining the integrity … of public service.”

It remains unclear when the Interim Legislative Ethics Committee might take up the complaint.

Neither Youngblood nor her lawyer could be reached for comment late Wednesday.

Youngblood, who represents a part of Albuquerque’s west side, already is facing a mandatory 48 hours in jail for her conviction as she heads into the last month of her re-election campaign in a race against Democratic challenger Karen Bash.

The Republican Party’s candidate for attorney general, Michael Hendricks, has called for Youngblood to resign.

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