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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Audits of 2020 political committees find millions of dollars in faulty reporting of revenues, expens

Electoral Comptroller Walter Vélez Martínez

By The Star Staff

The Office of the Elections Comptroller (OCE by its Spanish initials) announced on Sunday the result of audits of political committees that participated in the electoral events of 2020.

The finances of the 948 political committees registered for the most recent islandwide electoral event were audited.

“During this audit process, the income and expenditure transactions for the 2020 election year of each political party, political action committee, candidate and candidates were evaluated and analyzed in order to determine whether the financial, administrative and operational activities were carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Law for the Control of Political Campaign Financing and other applicable law,” Electoral Comptroller Walter Vélez Martínez said. “In addition, all auditees who requested it were given the opportunity to meet with the auditors, to clarify doubts, and answer and correct findings, as established by Law 222-2011. Similarly, as part of the audits there was horizontal cooperation with different oversight agencies, whether state or federal, for the processing of cases or related investigations.”

Among the main findings of the audits are that of a total of $34,726,728.17 in revenue, the OCE detected that $4,700,282.44 was not reported in a timely manner, and of $35,990,308.04 in expenses, $2,709,274.95 was not reported. Similarly, it was revealed that $118,682.31 corresponding to accounts payable was not submitted in the income and expense reports. In addition, irregularities were detected such as: 112 illegal donors, 4,347 unidentified donors, $356,003.60 in money not deposited in the accounts, $159,899.75 in excess cash payments, and $149,709.06 in excess donations, among others.

As a result of the audits and processes related to the oversight of political campaigns of the most recent electoral cycle, the OCE imposed fines, required the return of money and ordered the restitution of public money to the government in the amount of $2,244,098.94, due to violations of Law 222-2011 and its regulations.

“As an oversight agency for the financing of the electoral campaigns of political parties, committees and candidates, we will continue to ensure the transparency and legitimacy of the expenses reported, as well as the donations received by them with the purpose of bringing political messages to the electorate,” Vélez Martínez said. “By achieving the goal of auditing 100% of the registered political committees, which had never been achieved, it has allowed [for] a clear diagnosis and for identifying which activities are conducted as expected and which are not.”

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