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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Electoral comptroller handling complaints against Dorado, San Juan mayors alleging violations

Dorado Mayor Carlos López Rivera

By The Star Staff

The electoral comptroller of Puerto Rico, Walter Vélez, said his office will evaluate a complaint filed against Dorado Mayor Carlos López Rivera for allegedly using public funds to highlight his image in violation of the electoral ban that began Jan. 1.

He also revealed Wednesday that his office detected that current San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo’s campaign misidentified some of the political donations he received in the 2020 race.

The amount of money, which was not detailed by the comptroller, “was not properly identified” in the reports submitted, Vélez said during an interview in Radio Isla 1320.

“I don’t have the amount here, but [we detected] a certain amount of money that was not properly presented in the reports with the correct information, and they already made a payment as a penalty for that amount,” the official said.

In addition to the fine, Romero Lugo will have to make some changes to the expense reports before the office’s final determination is published this week.

The State Elections Commission (SEC) Board of Assistant Comptrollers banned Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia from using the slogan “Making Things Happen” because it violates the electoral ban in the sense that it is highlighting the administration’s achievements with public funds in an election year, Vélez said.

The SEC’s decision is the second ruling banning Pierluisi’s campaign from using the slogan. Last week, the courts sided with a Popular Democratic Party suit filed in November against the use of the slogan.

Vélez said officials will give Pierluisi “a couple of weeks” to stop the campaign but did not say what will be the consequences of using public funds for the campaign or if they have to paid back.

He said that if the government continues with the slogan, it may face penalties that start at $10,000.

Meanwhile, Vélez said his office will investigate a complaint filed against Dorado’s mayor for using public funds to highlight his image in violation of the electoral ban, which began Jan. 1.

Municipal assembly member Yamira Colón Rosa, who is running for mayor of Dorado under the Citizen Victory Movement banner, filed a complaint with the Electoral Comptroller’s office against López.

She said she toured Dorado and found around 14 signs and posters made with public funds highlighting the name and photo of the mayor.

“This practice is a violation of the electoral ban that prohibits elected public officials from using public funds to highlight their name and image in an election year,” Colón Rosa said. “Those signs must be removed or the name and image of the mayor covered. This was not done.”

Later on Wednesday, López Rivera reacted to media reports about the alleged complaint filed against him.

“Once again, the candidate of the Victoria Ciudadana party in Dorado makes statements and complaints without verifying whether the information is correct,” the mayor said. “In Dorado, we are responsible and all signs that had information or images that are prohibited by the electoral ban were removed. The signs to which Mrs. Colón refers are political propaganda paid for with funds from the Carlitos López Committee. In fact, the photo that she gave to the press, which is a photo of my family located at the entrances to the town, was paid for with funds from my campaign.”

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