Underwood responds to San Nicolas charge of negative campaigning

(UOG photo)

In a news conference this afternoon, candidate for Guam Delegate Robert Underwood responded to Congressman Michael San Nicolas’ charge of negative campaigning, stating “my campaign and I are committed to an open honest dialogue of my record of public service and Michael San Nicolas’ record of public service.”

According to Underwood, the advertising is just being factual. This is the text of the campaign ad referred to by San Nicolas:

“After only a year and a half in Congress, Michael San Nicolas stands out… He stands out for being 1 of 6 members in Congress that the bipartisan House Committee on Ethics is investigating this term. He also stands out for having the worst voting record this term, missing about 52% of votes he could’ve cast for Guam. He stands out for getting national coverage for himself and Guam on ABC News, The New York Times, Fox News, The Washington Post, and more. The investigation is examining if San Nicolas converted campaign funds for personal use, accepted improper campaign contributions, filed false reports with the Federal Election Commission, and made false statements to government investigators, improperly interfered or attempted to interfere in a government investigation.”

Refusing to comment

Here at home, Underwood said San Nicolas stands out for refusing to comment on the congressional ethics investigation and not explaining how he missed so many votes.

“It is important that Delegate San Nicolas speak to the specifics of the investigation and not have his lawyer issue press releases. Delegate San Nicolas has made many false public statements about my record that are negative as well as factually incorrect. Instead of arguing that San Nicolas is attacking me and using negative campaign tactics, I respond on the record, and point out Delegate San Nicolas is factually incorrect or dishonest. I repeatedly asked Delegate San Nicolas to agree to multiple debates. He continues to refuse and avoids being held accountable for his actions and record,” Underwood said.

Underwood added: “My campaign ad, press releases, and my public statements communicate to the voters and the people of Guam that Michael San Nicolas has a lot to explain and he refuses to. As candidates for office, the public and their court of opinion is the arena we compete in and it is the voters who have the final decision over what issues are important.”

According to Underwood, the Office of Congressional Ethics reviews allegations of misconduct against House Members, officers, and staff and, when appropriate, refers investigations to the House Ethics Committee for further review.

While the two-stage investigative process is confidential, Underwood said that in almost all
circumstances, OCE cases sent to the Ethics Committee must become public. The House Committee of Ethics agreed the allegations warranted investigation first in October 2019. Then in June 2020, the Committee on Ethics added additional charges to be investigated and appointed a Special Subcommittee to Investigate San Nicolas. Underwood said the additional charges are outlined in the two documents issued by the House Committee on Ethics.

“My campaign ad questions why San Nicolas refuses to be held accountable. I ask the voters to examine our records and our plans for the future. The voters deserve a leader who is willing to present himself to the voters and be held accountable. This is the fundamental purpose of our advertisement,” Underwood said.