VIDEO: Independent Jonathan Diaz Files Ethics Complaint Against Blas; McNinch Recommends Dismissing It

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Guam – Yesterday independent candidate for Guam’s delegate to congress Jonathan Diaz filed a formal ethics complaint with the legislature alleging an act of moral turpitude by Minority Leader Frank Blas Jr.

Diaz contends that Blas should have recused himself from voting in favor of Bill 488. The bill was passed by the legislature in effect mandating that the Guam Election Commission reconfigure the ballot in order to place Diaz on the primary.

The GEC’s original configuration of the primary ballot did not have room for Diaz. Diaz says in his release to the media that this would’ve have resulted in his automatic procession to the General Election. Diaz alleges that Senator Blas had an ulterior motive in his vote on the bill. Diaz is accusing Blas of doing a “special favor” that would benefit the Executive Branch by limiting the ability of independent candidates to advance to the General Election without a primary election.

READ DIAZ COMPLAINT HERE

 Senator Blas spoke with k57’s Ray Gibson on the breakfast show this morning saying, “First off I’m being accused of violating an ethics code for voting on a measure allowing that would allow an individual to run in a race?”

 UOG Professor Dr. Ron McNinch wrote a letter today essentially saying that he believes the ethics complaint is without merit. In his letter McNinch says that the legislature should have the item screened quickly by a responsible person as “simply not meeting the form of an ethics complaint.” McNinch writes that any candidate on the general election ballot should meet the 4% standard at the primary. Guam law requires that candidates receive 4% of the total votes cast in the primary election in order to advance to the general election. McNinch further states that “there is no ethics concern here because this was a matter of common legislation designed to resolve an immediate problem. Simply rejecting this complaint as soon as possible without comment is the best way to address it.” McNinch told PNC News in an interview that, “I really don’t see it going anywhere or that it should go anywhere basically an independent candidate in order to proceed to the general election has to have ten percent,” adding, “So I’m big for a summary take a look at it if it’s got merit deal with it if not let it go and move on but deal with it directly and deliberately.”

READ MCNINCH LETTER BELOW:

Dear Madame Speaker and Senators, (and Friends),
It is really hard to write this email without smiling, so please note this is typed in a pleasant tone.
Earlier today I was asked by a few media folks  to take a look at an ethics complaint related to the 2012 delegate race and Bill 488. In general, I think the legislature should simply have this item screened quickly by a responsible person as simply not meeting the form of an ethics complaint. Any candidate on the general election ballot should show viability under the 4% standard at the primary. This is a required fact of competing for an elected office.

To otherwise entertain this sort of item reflects poorly on the legislature as a whole body. As the general public very well knows, all responsible officials wanted to do the right thing related to accommodating a single non-party backed individual candidate by allowing him on the ballot. If one senator is wrong as claimed, all are wrong because the  same partisan set of political interests apply. The same theory would apply to the partisan interests of the Governor in this case also. Since all of the on island senators and the governor were attempting to resolve this concern in good faith, to claim otherwise is nonsense.   There is no ethics concern here because this was a matter of common legislation designed to resolve an immediate problem.

Further, it was claimed that Senator Blas committed some sort of act of moral turpitude, which has the effect of a loaded political term.   Simply rejecting this complaint as soon as possible without comment is the best way to address it.

In the future, it is likely that this type of question will be resolved by inter-party primaries and a higher threshhold for candidate ballot placement at the general election for independent candidates.

Sincerely, Ron McNinch