• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

PAC wants update from election commission on 2019 ethics complaint in San Nicolas | News

ByChad J. Johnson

May 13, 2022

Of the. Michael San Nicolas, front, responds to an inquiry during a meeting with members of the media after he and his running mate Sabrina Salas Matanane picked up a package of candidates for the Guam Election Commission’s 2022 gubernatorial election on April 19, 2022, in Tamuning.

Guam’s Responsible Political Action Committee wants more information about the Guam Election Commission’s handling of the ethics complaint filed against Del. Mike San Nicolas in 2019.

“This correspondence is to request an update on the Complaint and Audit Request filed on September 6, 2019 against Michael San Nicolas,” Guam PAC founder and charge attorney Peter Santos wrote in an email Thursday. .

The lawsuit, filed by former San Nicolas chief of staff John Paul Manuel, alleges the delegate accepted an illegal $10,000 campaign contribution and used the money to facilitate an extramarital affair.

San Nicolas, who is running for governor, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. He previously called the allegations baseless political attacks.

“Due to the seriousness of the allegations as well as his request for an audit, I would like to receive an update from the Status Committee…and request that this correspondence and request for an update be placed on the ‘agenda for next meeting for discussion,’ Santos wrote in the email.

Santos, who is currently considering running for attorney general and previously considered running against San Nicolas for the delegate seat, noted that the allegations are “taken very seriously in Washington DC.”

Manuel, now a member of Sen. Jose “Pedo” Terlaje’s staff, voluntarily flew to DC in March to testify before the House Ethics Committee investigating the delegate, PDN reported.

“No comment,” GEC director Maria Pangelinan said Friday.

She said Guam’s election laws require complaints to be kept confidential and she could make no statement about whether the Elections Commission had ever launched an investigation or conducted an audit relating to the complaint.

Guam law states that after a complaint is filed, the GEC “may also cause an investigation to be initiated.” But all proceedings must remain confidential “until the determination of probable cause by the electoral commission”.

A review of GEC board meeting minutes between August 2019 and March 2022 found no apparent mention of an investigation into the complaint against San Nicolas after September 17, 2019. In the months that followed , the commission became embroiled in preparations for the 2020 elections after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the island.

If an investigation were conducted, Guam Elections Law states that the GEC “shall refer the matter to the Attorney General when it finds that there is probable cause for a willful violation.”

But as of April 5, “the OAG has not received any referrals from the GEC regarding a willful violation of local or federal campaign finance laws,” said attorney general’s office spokeswoman Carlina Charfauros.

Santos, meanwhile, wanted the election commission to respond if the complaint had already been addressed.

“If they don’t have any comments, that could also potentially mean that they never put it as an official agenda item,” he said Thursday, “you can’t really not comment on something that is not on the agenda.”

Santos agreed that the GEC may have the legal authority to defer to the Federal Election Commission, if a parallel investigation is underway.

“But I want to know, where does it say they can do that?”

Pangelinan said the board would deal with Santos’ correspondence at an upcoming meeting.

The next meeting of the electoral commission’s board of directors is scheduled for May 19, according to their website.