GUAM SENATOR IN VIOLATION OF CODE OF ETHICS

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Preliminary committee findings slam Rector

By Dionesis Tamondong HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 5, 2010) – In Guam, Sen. Matt Rector's use of his legislative budget to promote his union activities is a violation of the Legislature's Code of Ethics, according to the preliminary findings of the ethics committee's attorney.

The ethics code also prohibits Rector, as president of the Guam Federation of Teachers union, from negotiating salaries for port employees and using his legislative budget to pay rent to the union.

Attorney Anthony Camacho also determined that Rector may serve as a senator and union president concurrently, and may participate in public hearings that deal with bills that could benefit the union. However, Rector has a responsibility to avoid any conflicts of interest by, for example, recusing himself from participating on those bills.

The Committee on Ethics and Standards released a summary of Camacho's preliminary findings yesterday. Tomorrow, Camacho will present his full report to the six-member committee, and they will decide whether to conduct a full investigation into the ethics complaint filed by Port Authority of Guam board Chairman Monte Mesa.

Ultimately, the burden of proof for determining the facts in the investigation falls on the committee members.

The legislative Ethics Code and Rules of Procedure don't establish a specific burden of proof for committee proceedings. Instead, the committee bases its decisions and actions on a majority vote.

The disciplinary actions the committee may recommend to the full Legislature includes censuring, suspending or discharging Rector. It would require 10 senators to adopt the recommendations.

All committee meetings concerning the Rector complaint must be public, Camacho stated. But some hearings held to receive testimony or evidence may be closed to the public if a majority of committee members vote to do so.

The committee yesterday also released the second ethics complaint against Rector, which was filed last month by Sinajana resident Eloy Hara. In it, Hara alleges the senator lied on the affidavit he submitted to the Guam Election Commission, in which he states he was never convicted of a crime.

But Rector last month disclosed he was convicted of misdemeanor burglary in California about 25 years ago.

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