EMBATTLED GUAM SENATOR DEFENDS HIMSELF

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Rector posts video saying ‘he has nothing to hide’

By Dionesis Tamondong HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 6, 2010) – In Guam, Sen. Matt Rector, in a recently posted YouTube video, said he has nothing to hide about the ethics complaints and investigations against him.

Today, members of the Legislature's Committee on Ethics and Standards are meeting to hear their attorney's recommendations on how to move forward on the ethics complaint against Rector.

The six-member committee will need to find a replacement after Republican Sen. Frank Blas Jr. resigned from the committee yesterday. Blas said he decided to step down because of his "open opinions" about Rector's potential conflicts of interest.

Rector, in a two-part online video posted on his Web site and on YouTube last week, said he doesn't understand the complaints against him. Rector compared the "ridiculous" complaints against him to the persecution of the late Mahatma Gandhi, a worldwide icon of non-violent political resistance. The fact that people are "fighting" him "means that we're getting something done," Rector said in the video.

"I'm proud of doing what I've done, I'm proud of who I am and I'm proud of my past. I've got nothing to hide," Rector said.

The legislative ethics committee is expected to decide whether to conduct a full investigation into the complaint filed by Port Authority of Guam board Chairman Monte Mesa in his capacity as a taxpayer. Mesa's complaint questions Rector's dual roles as lawmaker and president of the Guam Federation of Teachers union, and alleges that he has violated the Legislature's Ethics Code.

Yesterday, Blas explained why he stepped down: "I'm not going to be able to provide an objective opinion on this. It's best that we find another member to be appointed to this committee."

Blas, during previous legislative sessions, has questioned Rector's participation on certain bills that could possibly benefit the union. Before Mesa's complaint, Blas had sent a letter to the attorney general's office asking if senators are subject to the provisions of the island's conflict-of-interest law.

Blas' request cited Rector's attempt to amend the fiscal 2010 budget bill to require employers to provide a set amount of sick leave to employees, which is germane to the union's financial interest.

The Ethics Committee has received two complaints against Rector. The Guam Election Commission also has subpoenaed Rector to provide police reports, criminal records and any other documents related to any past crimes.

As well, local and federal authorities have said they are looking into Rector's background in relation to his application for a license to keep a concealed firearm.

Rector last month admitted he was convicted of misdemeanor burglary about 25 years ago when he climbed onto the roof of a California mall and entered through an unlocked door. The senator said he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.

After his disclosure, Sinajana resident Eloy Hara filed a complaint with the election commission and with local and federal authorities. In it, Hara alleges Rector violated local and federal laws when he failed to disclose his misdemeanor burglary conviction in an affidavit required of those seeking public office.

Rector has refused interviews by the Pacific Daily News since he began his term.

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