AS NOV. 8 GENERAL ELECTIONS GET CLOSER
OPA probes complaints on use of gov’t time and property for political purposes
The Office of the Public Auditor said Friday that it has recently received multiple complaints concerning the use of government time and property for political purposes.
If substantiated, these complaints amount to violations of the Commonwealth Ethics Code Act, which includes an absolute prohibition on the use of government time, money, or resources for political activity, according to interim public auditor Dora I. Deleon Guerrero.
In her memorandum addressed to all CNMI government branches, departments, agencies, public corporations, and autonomous agencies, Deleon Guerrero said this prohibition applies to all public officials and public employees.
“As we get closer to the election, OPA asks you to remind your employees of the absolute prohibition, to post this memorandum in a conspicuous place, and to report any inappropriate political activities to OPA,” she said.
The general elections will be held on Nov. 8.
Deleon Guerrero said the recent complaints include allegations involving the selling of political fundraiser ticket for political candidates during work hours and the use of government computers and cellular phones to advertise political fundraising events and to solicit donations.
“These activities, if substantiated, would constitute criminal acts and subject participation of public employees and officials to judicial sanctions,” Deleon Guerrero said.
She said other common unlawful activities in the government workplace include the sale of plate lunches to benefit a political candidate, sale of tickets to political fundraisers, and the recruitment of volunteers for political campaign activities.
The temporary public auditor said none of these activities should occur in government offices or on government time.
“Please assist OPA in upholding the law of the CNMI to keep politics out of the government workplace. Set the tone at the top so that such activities will not be tolerated,” she said.
Deleon Guerrero warned that complaints will be investigated diligently and, when substantiated, referred for prosecution.
She said OPA is willing to conduct training on the Government Ethics Act if an office is interested.