Senate to Investigate Election-Gate and Vendetta-Gate?

June 21, 2011

Kudos to the CNMI Senate. KSPN2 and the Saipan Tribune reported that the CNMI Senate will conduct a meeting to discuss the OPA investigation of the alleged improprieties of AG Buckingham.  Like some other CNMI officials, Buckingham hosted a campaign event at the governor's house for Covenant candidate Joe Camacho.

KSPN reports:
The findings of the investigation were released only to the governor and Buckingham. The governor has said he does not agree with the public auditor's findings. Now some lawmakers are looking in to the possible need to change the law, so that the attorney general takes responsibility if he is found to have broken the law, even if the governor refuses to take action.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the lawmakers are considering amending the current law so that the Office of the Public Auditor would be forced to release the investigative report that found AG Buckingham had violated election law. (Read the story here.)

While it appears that under existing law the Public Auditor cannot release the report, it always appears that the Governor's Office and OAG can release it. It is clear that the AG and Governor do not want the report released since it reportedly found the AG had violated ethics policies and/or the law.

This AG needs to be held accountable for breaking any election laws, including using government computers and time to plan the campaign event, which is a violation of the Hatch Act. (See the Election-Gate posts.) Amending the existing law  to allow publication of all reports would be a good move.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is the Governor's Special Legal Advisor when you need him?

Perhaps Howie and/or Deanne could come up with a legal analysis? We could ask one or both to "volunteer" one more time.

Seriously, the current AG has
devalued the Office of the Attorney General. For most of the history of the Commonwealth, it was headed by honest, competent public servants. This man is a joke!

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that will happen.
This is most likely all smoke and mirrors to make it seem like these clowns are concerned and will actually do something.
Also this is after the fact. As has been proven in the past, these people will not do anything but talk and then shelve a proposal.
Most of them have to many skeletons in their closet and the Gov. or others could possibly expose them.

Hopefully this Gov. has finally pushed things to the limit, best would be the Feds to get involved.
It would be good if something positive does come out of it though,lets see.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the current legislature may not be up to the task, whether it comes to modifying the open records/meetings laws or holding the AG accountable. The CNMI Constitution, Article XVIII, provides a method to put an amendment on the ballot for a referendum.

A good model for an open records law is the California Public Records Act. By default, documents in California are considered public record unless clearly falling under specific exemptions (e.g. attorney-client communication).