URGING MORE TRANSPARENCY IN ELECTIONS
Following through on a campaign commitment, independent House candidate Christina “Tina” Sablan (Precinct 2) has released her campaign finance report and statement of financial interest ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Both documents were filed with the Office of the Public Auditor last week; the Commonwealth Election Commission also received a copy of the campaign finance report.
“Citizens in the Northern Marianas, like citizens in other jurisdictions around the country, should have the right to know how candidates raise and spend money in elections,” Sablan said.
“Campaign finance reports should be available to the public before elections, and not just after.” Currently, Commonwealth law only requires candidates to file their reports within 50 days after elections.
According to Sablan’s campaign finance report, as of Sept. 1, 2018, she has raised $10,347.50 in cash contributions, including $6,000 from one fundraiser held in May. Sablan has spent $7,013.36. An updated report will be filed after the Nov. 6 election.
Commonwealth law also presently requires that elected officials file their statements of financial interest with the Public Auditor at the time of taking their oath of office. OPA is required by law to keep these statements strictly confidential, unless the public official waives confidentiality.
“The purpose of these statements is to report the financial interests and potential conflicts of interest of public officials,” Sablan noted.
“These records should not be confidential,” she said. “And they should be filed before elections, by all candidates.”
Sablan’s statement of financial interest indicates that she has not derived any income from any organization that did business with the Commonwealth government in calendar year 2017. She has not received any gifts or honoraria from non-relatives, nor does she have any direct or indirect financial interest in real estate. Sablan’s statement does report employment by a unit of the government other than the CNMI government: she presently works for U.S. Delegate Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (Ind-MP).
“Congressman Ed Propst has introduced bills in this Legislature that would reform our campaign finance and financial interest laws, and improve transparency in our elections and government. These bills are H.B. 20-138, to enhance campaign financial reporting requirements, and H.B. 20-166, the Public Official Disclosure Act.
“Unfortunately, the present majority leadership has not allowed these bills to move forward. I support these initiatives, and if elected I am committed to working with my colleagues to see these bills through to enactment,” Sablan said.
Sablan’s campaign finance report and statement of financial interest can be accessed on her official campaign Facebook page, at the Office of the Public Auditor, and also by request – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 285-3935. For more information, or to make a donation to the Committee to Elect Christina Sablan, contact Rachel Fusco, campaign treasurer, at email@example.com or Erin Camacho, campaign chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)