In her own words (published by regional news outlets), Yvette Herrell said, ""Ultimately, this entire series of events is nothing more than an attempt...to call into question my moral character, and they are doing so by pointing at fog and calling it smoke. There was never, is never, and will never be a time or situation where I will hide anything from my constituents or the people of New Mexico."
How about this one? Is Yvette Herrell taking lavish trips on taxpayer money? Trips? Yes - one per year that is pre-approved by the Speaker of the House. Lavish? Not even close.
As you know, our legislators are volunteers and unpaid. But there are a few things that are paid for by taxpayer dollars. First, they get per diem of $161/day when they are engaged in legislative activities and that includes interim committee meetings. Secondly, legislators are allowed to take one trip per year to out of state legislature related conferences such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). This allows legislators to meet with their peers around the U.S. and learn about issues and solutions that they may be able to bring back to New Mexico.
It is the right of every legislator to attend these meetings and events and have it paid for by taxpayers. Payment for these trips covers only conference registration, transportation and per diem which may not even cover the hotel. Not all legislators take advantage of that, but it's hardly newsworthy when they do. And, it should definitely not be used as a campaign weapon when legislators pursue opportunities to help our state.