Sen. Espaldon in violation of ethics code; public censure recommended

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“The ethics complaint has been an ordeal for me, my family, and the people of Guam and I am sorry that I have caused them any pain or embarrassment.” — Sen. Jim Espaldon

Guam – The Legislature’s Committee on Ethics has just released its findings of the ethics investigation into Republican Sen. Jim Espaldon, finding him in violation of the Code of Ethics and Standards.

Spearheaded by Republican Sen. Fernando Esteves, chairman of the Committee on Ethics, the committee began its probe after receiving a complaint from CNMI Rep. Ed Propst.

Propst filed the complaint on grounds that Sen. Espaldon was involved in a lucrative procurement deal with a Saipan-based company that was trying to secure an $11.7 million emergency contract to provide megawatt generators to the government.

The Ethics Committee has recommended official censure, removal from leadership positions for the remainder of the legislative term and 16 hours of refresher ethics in government program for the senator and his staff.

“Ethical standards exist to express accepted expectations of conduct, and they are established not only to bring clarity and adherence to these expectations, but to ensure that shared principles are honored as well. It is imperative, however, to also understand that the realm of ethics, unlike that of law, is inherently subjective and that these findings and recommendations alone do not reflect on Senator Espaldon’s person or character,” said Sen. Esteves.

Sen. Espaldon also issued a statement immediately after the findings were released.

“The Ethics Committee considered four potential ethics charges against me, so I am gratified that three charges were dismissed and they found only one ethical violation. The ethics complaint has been an ordeal for me, my family, and the people of Guam and I am sorry that I have caused them any pain or embarrassment. I have learned some hard lessons from this experience. I hold my position as Senator to be a matter of public trust and I have always attempted to live up to that trust. Since this matter will now go before the full legislative body for a final resolution, I expect an open, fair and honest discussion of the charge against me,” said Espaldon.