Senate to request fiscal board members to disclose ownership of Puerto Rico bonds
SAN JUAN – The Senate had its sights on approving Thursday afternoon Resolution 156 requesting the U.S. Congress to order the fiscal oversight board’s members to disclose whether they personally or through some legal personality own bonds issued by the commonwealth or its agencies and instrumentalities.
The resolution, presented by Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Juan Dalmau, states that in a recent report published by the Bond Buyer, board executive director Ramón Ruiz Comas holds $250,001 to $500,000 in commonwealth bonds. For Dalmau, there is a potential conflict of interest, according to Sec. 109 b of Promesa, which incorporates Sec. 102 of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
“This situation could represent a possible conflict of interest… since this section [of Promesa] states that any official or employee of any agency of the U.S. government would be subjected to penalties included in Sec. 210 of Title 18 of the USC, if he [or she] or his [or her] immediate family, or entities in which the official or employee has a financial interest in an entity that would be under the scrutiny of any agency of the U.S. government of which he [or she] is a part of,” the resolution reads.
The resolution considers that this section of Promesa also applies to “any employee and/or agent [contractor] of the board involved in any decision-making aspect regarding the entity in which he [or she] has a financial interest.”
In the measure, Dalmau also points to board Chairman José Carrión and Carlos García as both possibly having financial interests, via commonwealth bonds, in Puerto Rico’s public corporations or agencies.
“In times of financial straits and when greater transparency is required, and when one of the board’s demands to the government is the absolute disclosure of the country’s finances, it is their obligation to make public all the necessary information, particularly when their recommendation is a reduction of the workweek for public employees…,” the resolution adds.