Muddied CNMI Election 2010

September 5, 2010

This is classic. The Marianas Variety reports that Governor Fitial will appoint an attorney to oversee the November US Delegate election. AG Buckingham will probably get slapped with violating the Hatch Act and/or other violations. Who has confidence that any attorney affiliated with the OAG or Fitial would have the integrity to oversee an election?

The governor appointed AAG Meaghan Hassel-Shearer who was a counsel to the CNMI Election Commission.

The US Attorney Office should oversee this election.  Too much local government interference has been evidenced for months - from rallies organized by the CNMI government offices of Indigenous and Carolinian Affairs to an entire list of "events" and "meet and greets" sponsored by CNMI cabinet members and high-level government employees, most of whom are Fitial appointees.

The Marianas Variety reported:
Buckingham said he already “requested federal monitors for the upcoming election and made assurances that they will have full and unfettered access to all aspects of the election.”

He added: “I have no objection to [the Office of Public Auditor] investigating me but rather welcome it, as the facts of this matter, when known, will exonerate me and the Office of the Attorney General.”

Buckingham said he is “confident that the facts,” once investigated, will eventually clear him and his office.

“The Office of the Attorney General has not ‘endorsed’ any candidate for the United States Congress in the upcoming election,” he added.

“No endorsement of candidate [Joseph James Norita] Camacho or of his political party by either me, the Office of the Attorney General, or any attorneys or staff of the [AGO] was either intended or made,” he said.

“This is apparent from the video or my remarks at the gathering which in no way expressed or implied any endorsement of candidate Camacho or any other candidate,” he added.

“I want to make it crystal clear that I have not endorsed [Camacho] and have not asked anyone to vote for him,” Buckingham said.

“Political candidates claiming endorsement by the [AGO] is not the same as me or anyone from our office ‘endorsing’ a candidate. Unauthorized claims of endorsement happen frequently in the robust and no-holds-barred elections which are typical of a healthy democratic system of government,” he added.
Good spin, but the email and facebook entries refute his statements. The OAG did publicly, and in writing, support Camacho. Did you see any facebook entries where the OAG invited office members to a Sablan, Borja or Babauta rally or event? Uh, no.

The Attorney General needs to step down now. His dishonesty and lack of integrity is blatant.  Does he think that because he recused himself from election-related issues people will forgive and forget. You know, like they did with massage-gate, gun-gate, furlough-gate, parole-gate and on and on. His dirty hands need to be permanently removed from any law enforcement decisions.


Anonymous said...

Meaghan has been Buckingham's "yes" girl for many months now. All of the discrepancies during the last election happened under her watch. Some may say they were due to her being green at the time. I agree, but not just green as in new. Green as in Covenant green. It is impossible to tell just who has and who hasn't drank the Kool-Aid at the AG's Office. I agree with you. Buckingham needs to step down for good. The AAG's need to do the right thing and recommend that this election be put under the purview of the USAO or some other independent outside entity.

10 days after news of this broke and 11 days after Demapan sent off the tell-tale email we have yet to hear a single word publicly from any of the AAGs.

I have to believe some of them, at least the newbies, are appalled by this incident.

Anonymous said...

Federal prison must've sounded scary?

Attorney General Edward T. Buckingham, in an e-mail to Variety, said he has “advised the governor, that effective immediately, I hereby recuse myself from all involvement and oversight of the election.”

Captain said...

Lets see where Fitial put this guy now.
What new "special asst" post will be created.Another person that will fall due to Fitial while Fitial "skates" clean.
One day (hopefully soon)Fitial will make a mistake and be implicated in something that the Feds can bring him down on.
But hopefully they (Feds) are watching something that is big if they go after a sitting Gov.

Anonymous said...

this means nothing. its still hand-picked from his office. Noni12:37 spot-on.

Anonymous said...

So, now I am more confident in the election now that no one is minding the store. Let everyone and anyone do what they want. Camacho may as well start picking out his drapes.

Anonymous said...

The Federal Election Commission and USAO currently have no legal authority to monitor an election. Kilili's tactic of chasing away the OAG will only increase the likelihood of shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

For that matter, the OAG has no legal authority to monitor an election, either.

The first delegate election in 2008 went fine without them.

By CNMI law, that duty falls on the Commonwealth Election Commission, the Office of the Public Auditor, and the political parties -- who are specifically designated to have observers.

As a former Executive Director of the CEC, Kilili surely knows this.

It appears he is devaluing the integrity of his successors at the CEC, particularly the Commissioners, upon whom a fair election rests. He is also attempting to take political advantage of Buckingham's blunder.

Shame on him!

People running for office should not be calling into question our Commonwealth Election Commission. That sort of sour grapes is not the way toward progress for our people.

We need statesmanlike behavior, not political opportunism.

Anonymous said...

Noni 6:15
Wow you either really don't get it or have your head so far up Fitial's a## that you can't see. Statemanlike? Oh of course! Like Fitial? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHA! You are one sick puppy.

Anonymous said...

What federal funds go into the AG's personal salary?

Without them, he is not subject to the Hatch Act. Unlike other offenses, such as bribery, it is not enough that he work for a program receiving federal funds.