Guam – Gutierrez-Aguon campaign volunteer Carlo Branch has filed a complaint with the Guam Election Campaign alleging that the Calvo-Tenorio campaign made “Illegal campaign expenditures” by contributing to medical fundraisers and funerals. The Calvo-Tenorio team however says they were only trying to help people in need adding that this is a common and longstanding practice of local politicians.
Gutierrez-Aguon campaign volunteer Carlo Branch said, “The election law in title three very specifically states what campaign contributions are to be used for as I quoted in my letter which you have campaign contributions shall only be used for the support of a candidate the opposition of a candidate or the support or opposition of a particular issue.”
Branch says that the Calvo-Tenorio team violated this law when they contributed to 300 various non-campaign related things like funerals, and medical fundraisers. “The reason the code prevents this kind of action is so that there is never any innuendo about whether or not a vote is for sale or for purchase,” he explained.
But Calvo-Tenorio campaign chairman Mike Benito says they like many other politicians are simply trying to help those in need. “Any thought that we tried to gain any political favors for it is absolutely false absolutely false we never gave them stickers we never requested for them to put signs we never requested anything like that many times we never even saw them as they came in we just let them know that we received their request that we have a small donation we wish it could be more and then they would pick it up at our headquarters up in Maite and then down in Hagatna and that was basically the extent of it,” explained Benito.
While he’ll leave the legality of this type of donation to the lawyers Benito points out that the practice of donating to funerals and medical fundraisers is something that is common for politicians on Guam. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Governor-Elect Calvo has made it very clear that he wants to help those most in need those that are less fortunate and it was part of his campaign part of his mandate and these are just examples of it,” said Benito.
Branch also pointed out that the law doesn’t prevent candidates from donating to funerals and medical fundraisers out of their own pocket, they’re only prohibited from using campaign funds for these kinds of donations. Candidates can however contribute to their campaign funds out of their own pocket.