GEC board shuts the door on media, public - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GEC board shuts the door on media, public

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 3:37 PM Updated:

Campaign finance violations reported on by KUAM News were put on the agenda at the Guam Election Commission's board meeting, then promptly tabled for discussion behind closed doors. An array of violations committed by sitting Senators, candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor - even the public auditor - making headlines - and when they were put in front of GEC board members last night, the silence was deafening.

Just an hour before the meeting, a rep from the Tenorio/Ada campaign at the GEC to show proof that the BOTA team returned an over-the- limit donation from RKM Property Group - just a day after we reported on the violation.

Copies of our stories compiled for board members and after getting through the first half of the meeting, GEC director Maria Pangelinan asked the board to address the issue. "Has everyone had a chance to review this information," GEC board chair Alice Taijeron asked. "Is this something that is required for us to discuss in executive session?"

 

Executive session - meaning the media and the public gets kicked out and anything said or done is kept confidential - not exactly a victory for accountability - but a win-win for elected officials worried about their campaign finance dirty laundry being aired out in public. GEC legal counsel Vince Camacho reminding board members they have a legal obligation to conduct any review of campaign finance questions in secrecy - even though campaign finance documents are public information.

"The commission is required to conduct such review in confidence," Camacho said. GEC board vice chair Jadeen Tuncap - a senior staffer for Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio - saying without evidence from GEC staff, there's nothing to discuss.

"These are just media articles, we don't have anything from you Maria," Tuncap said. "For us to discuss right now, at this moment and address it - like legal counsel said - it's something that needs further clarification, or just something from you."

Independent board member Pat Civille making the motion to go behind closed doors. "My motion would be to go into executive session," Civille said. "So we can freely discuss what counsel advised us on."

And just like that - no guarantee of accountability and no proof to show the voting public that their candidates can follow simple campaign finance rules and regulations ethically.

What we do know is that the GEC compiled a list of potential violations for the board to review and it's presumed that information was reviewed by the board behind closed doors. Questionable campaign fund spending by Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks, Senators Tommy Morrison, Dennis Rodriguez and Jim Espaldon and questionable contributions accepted by Senator Mike San Nicolas, Espaldon, the BOTA team and Brooks may have been on the list, but with the GEC board deciding to protect the politicians and not the public, there's no way we'll ever know for sure.

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