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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Romero Donnelly: The law doesn’t support GEO request for financial statements

Statehood delegate Melinda Romero Donnelly

By The Star Staff

Statehood lobbyist/delegate Melinda Romero Donnelly insisted Tuesday that she will not turn in her financial statements to the Government Ethics Office (GEO).

“Today we sent a communication to the Office of Government Ethics,” Romero Donnelly said in a written statement. “This communication establishes firstly that the GEO has not notified me of the complaint that they are publicly airing, and secondly that it is not an obligation under the Law for Congressional Delegates to file reports to that office and we are reiterating that we will not do so.”

“As a Legislator, I complied with the obligation to submit reports to the GEO for years, because the Law requires it. Filing this document is simple, it does not take time, nor does it offer the media or the population any information, NOTHING,” she added. “If the Law required me to make these reports, I would have no problem doing so, but this is a matter of abiding with the Law and I will not let myself be threatened or intimidated by the innuendos of enemies of our management to please the morbid whim of some and for the entertainment of others.”

“When I was sworn in as a Congressional Delegate, I filed a first report because we were led to believe that legislation would be approved to include the requirement in the Law,” Romero Donnelly continued. “Later the Senate of Puerto Rico defeated the measure and the inclusion of the requirement in the Law did not prevail. As with other elected officials such as City assembly members or Blue Ribbon members, Congressional Delegates are not under the jurisdiction of the GEO. The Law cannot continue to be severe and inexcusable for Statehood supporters and weak, flexible and forgiving for those who prefer Independence or the humiliating colony.”

The statehood delegate pointed out that “The Law requires a management report to the Governor of Puerto Rico every 3 months; those reports are there.”

The GEO announced last Wednesday that a complaint had been filed against Romero Donnelly in her role as a lobbyist/delegate for statehood for failing to submit her annual financial reports.

“The defendant did not present her annual financial report for the year 2021, which she had to present no later than May 1, 2022,” the complaint reads. “In view of the defendant’s non-compliance with the presentation of her financial report for the year 2021, the Audit Area of OEG Financial Reports (AAIF) activated the Informal Hearing procedure.”

The GEO gave Romero Donnelly 20 days to respond to the complaint. An imposed fine could reach $20,000.

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