Guam – Former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior Tony Babauta says all his travel was appropriate, all funds given to Guam from his department went through the proper processes, and there is no truth to rumors that he resigned from his position as part of a deal with the feds to stop the investigation into these allegations.
Tony Babauta is defending all the decisions he made before resigning as former Assistant Secretary of the Interior after an investigation was launched into allegations that he took inappropriate trips and showed favoritism to Guam when giving grant funding from his department. “Do you think any of your travel was improper?” asked PNC.
“No, I don’t think any of my travel was improper there’s a process for my travel to clear and the activities that I’m going to do while I’m on official travel so I don’t think any of my travel was inappropriate or unofficial,” replied Babauta
Babauta says there were a number of issues that the inspector general was investigating but the focus seemed to be on some of the funding he gave to Guam. “There was clearly a focus on decisions I had made that affected Guam or benefited Guam I think there was a consideration that because I’m from Guam that I was inappropriately giving favor either to people that I know or just relationships that I had which was never the case I’ve been working on these issues for prior to being Assistant Secretary for twelve years as a professional staffer in the house of representatives,” said Babauta.
Babauta says that any funding given to Guam from the Department of the Interior went through the same process that all grant funding goes through. “Do you think anyone was going after you?” asked PNC. “I don’t know clearly the allegations were brought anonymously it wasn’t the first time that anonymous allegations had been levied against me it’s something I will never know about the source of it all I don’t know what the intention was,” replied Babauta.
Babauta says he’s never seen the results of the investigation and has not been told that the investigation is closed but he assumes that it is closed. “There was some speculation that maybe you resigned to cut a deal with the feds and basically said drop your investigation and I’ll just resign did you?” asked PNC “No,” replied Babauta. “Why did you resign?” asked PNC. “I resigned because I considered that I withstood the breadth of the investigation I didn’t want to leave midstream like I said I had known about this in October I was notified then that it was gonna begin I stayed throughout I spent my time with the investigators I was candid in the answers that I gave to them as I believe others were when they went around and interviewed people I considered that the last round of interviews that was in Guam was completed and they had returned to D.C. and it was still a time of transition between the first term of president Obama and the next term it was probably wasn’t ideal as a departure as I would’ve hoped for but none the less it was a departure that I think still leaves a record of achievement behind during my term as Assistant Secretary,” responded Babauta.
Babauta says he wants to eventually return to Guam someday and is considering running for some form of public office on Guam. “I don’t take lightly the fact that I am the first person of Micronesian decent to be appointed by a president in the history of the country I think that speaks very well for our people and for our region. In terms of our capacity to help provide leadership it’s something that I want to be able to bring back home,” said Babauta.
Babauta wouldn’t say when he was planning on returning to Guam. As of right now he has taken a job with the crane and crane consulting firm in Washington D.C. Although he hasn’t decided yet he did say that he is interested in running for some form of political office on Guam one day.