Ethics Committee asks for $15K; remains mum about investigative probe on Sen. Espaldon

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“[The $15K] is to cover committee expenses such as legal counsel, any supplies needed, any additional staff that may be needed,” explained Ethics Chairman Fernando Esteves.

Guam – The secretive nature of the Legislative Ethics Hearing continues, but now with a $15K expense made by the committee.

Ethics Chairman Fernando Esteves told Phill Leon Guerrero on K-57’s “One Free Re-Phill” the rationale behind the $15K expenditure, but remained mum on the specifics.

“It’s to cover committee expenses,” explained Esteves, adding “such as legal counsel, any supplies needed, any additional staff that may be needed –pretty much anything that’s allowable under legitimate expenses. They’ll get outlined and submitted as part of the record, I don’t believe those to be confidential.”

According to Esteves, the public is not privy to know what stage the committee is at in the investigation.

In fact, Esteves could only say that the ethics probe on Republican Lawmaker Jim Espaldon was “consistent with all the timelines as dictated by their standing rules.”

Senator Espaldon is accused of conflict of interest and corruption involving a multi-million dollar procurement venture in Saipan.

According to the rules, after the investigation is finished, the committee can make a recommendation of a disciplinary process, if any, and the legislature would require 10 votes to adopt any such measures.

“We have to be very careful, I mean, if there is a large public outcry to make everything public, the thing is if you’re in the middle of a process do you just change a substantial part of it right in the middle of it?” he asked.

Ultimately, Senator Esteves says that it’s the legislative bod, not the ethics committee, that holds adjudicating authority.