The Legislative Ethics Committee met for the first time today. Members adopted the policies and procedures when receiving and investigating any complaints sent their way. The procedures will be forwarded to the committee on rules to be adopted into the standing rules.
Committee chair Senator Fernando Esteves says if the panel does not recommend to dismiss the complaint, then they would forward their recommendation to the body for a vote. Ten votes are needed in order for action to be taken against the accused. The senator or legislative staffer accused would also get an opportunity to respond to the complaint during the committee of the whole.
The committee would work with its own legal counsel during the investigation phase. Members today recommended issuing a request of interest to the Guam Bar to find legal representation. As reported, an official ethics complaint alleging a conflict of interest was filed against Senator James Espaldon this week. The Legislature's Standing Rules prevents the committee members from publicly discussing any complaints sent to them, as each complaint Esteves says is confidential to allow the accused the proper due process.