House Ways and Means to subpoena Finance, Atalig
The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee agreed Wednesday to summon the Department of Finance and Finance Secretary David DLG. Atalig or his designee to compel them to produce numerous reports that the committee members have sought.
With eight committee members voting yes to the issuance of a subpoena—with two not present during voting and two absent—the motion offered by Rep. Christina E. Sablan (D-Saipan) to issue the subpoena passed.
Committee chair Rep. Donald M. Manglona (Ind-Rota) said he, vice chair Rep. Corina L. Magofna (Ind-Saipan) and the House counsel will prepare the documents that will be issued to Finance.
Before Sablan offered the motion, Manglona explained that a subpoena duces tecum is a general subpoena to request for documents from any of the agencies that have come before the committee that have not provided the documents that they have promised to provide after past meetings.
Manglona said there are several committee members that are concerned for the most part about how the CNMI government is spending its American Rescue Plan Act dollars.
Sablan said that, in light of the committee’s interest in carrying out its responsibilities to prepare the fiscal year 2023 budget and also to exercise legislative oversight as to the financial condition of the government, and in light of the multiple requests for records that remain unanswered by Finance, she would offer this motion to issue a subpoena to Finance and to the Finance secretary or his designee for records sought by the committee and its members.
Sablan said the records should be submitted within five days of the date the subpoena is received.
Sablan said these records shall include but not limited to:
*ARPA funds status by agency department and expense type.
*Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements going back to typhoons Soudelor, Mangkhut, Yutu, and COVID-19.
*The pandemic total costs by fiscal year and expense category.
*The CARES Act expenditure report.
*The report on Travel Bucks, what has been spent versus what the government has realized in returns.
*The report on attorneys fees for the House Judiciary and Governmental Operations Committee’s witnesses and for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
*The report on the total amount returned from the stimulus cards as well as the report on business gross revenue tax revenue generated as a result of the stimulus.
*Updated actuarial report on the Settlement Fund.
*A report on the $5 million for the Medicaid, where those funds were reprogrammed from in order to meet the local requirements for this current fiscal year.
*Report on monies owed the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to include ARPA money for an MRI machine.
The committee members, who are mostly Democrats, did not hold discussions on the motion.
Last Friday, Atalig appealed to lawmakers not to politicize the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and Medicaid.