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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Office of the Electoral Comptroller sues candidates to collect unpaid fines

By The Star Staff

Electoral Comptroller Walter Vélez Martínez announced Monday that he will file 22 appeals in the Court of San Juan to collect the fines imposed on applicants, candidates, treasurers and mayors from the New Progressive Party, Popular Democratic Party and Citizen Victory Movement, which amount to $274,000.

The fines were imposed for violations of the Law for the Supervision of Political Campaigns in Puerto Rico.

“We exhausted administrative resources, without success,” Vélez Martínez said. “These [campaign] committees have failed to comply with regulations related to campaign financing and respond assertively to communications from this Office.”

The 22 complaints correspond to 60 administrative fines imposed for non-compliance with information requirements, failure to file reports, income and expenses not reported or not deposited in the campaign account, unidentified donors and deficiencies in internal controls, among others.

Among those sanctioned are six candidates and pre-candidates for legislative seats and seven candidates for mayoral positions. Lawsuits will also be filed against two incumbent mayors and seven committee treasurers.

As the regulatory entity for the financing of electoral campaigns, the Office of the Electoral Comptroller ensures the legitimacy of donations received and expenses incurred by campaign committees to bring political messages to the electorate. The Office invites citizens to report inappropriate management of political campaigns through its online services portal.

“It is essential that each of the political components fully comply with the provisions established by Law 222 and the regulations,” Vélez Martínez said. “To this end, we will continue to exhaust efforts to enforce the legislative mandate.”

Among those fined are:

* Yanitsia Irizarry Méndez, candidate for mayor of Aguadilla, with an outstanding balance of $47,052.48.

* Luis O. Flores Santiago, candidate for mayor of Sabana Grande, with an outstanding balance of $16,290.00.

* José Rodríguez González, candidate for mayor of Utuado, with an outstanding balance of $36,212.38.

The complete list of those sanctioned and their outstanding balances is available for public review.

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