Puerto Rico Recovery Office demands sworn declaration from contractors

(Screen capture of (www.recovery.pr)

Must certify not having received any benefits and no cronyism, conflicts of interest exist

SAN JUAN — The new executive director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), Ottmar Chávez, announced that every contractor and subcontractor must sign a mandatory affidavit to offer services to the office.

COR3 is a division of the Public-Private Partnerships Authority. It works hand in hand with the federal government, to “ensure that the Government of Puerto Rico successfully undertakes reconstruction efforts with efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency, while capitalizing on opportunities to build back in a way that makes Puerto Rico better, stronger, and more resilient,” the entity’s mission statement reads.

“We have begun to send an affidavit to all contractors and subcontractors, which must go with the contract that all professionals offering services to COR3 have to sign. What we seek most is to ensure that the Government of Puerto Rico efficiently and effectively implements recovery and reconstruction efforts, and at the same time capitalizes on the opportunities to rebuild a better, stronger and more resilient Puerto Rico,” the executive director said in a press release issued by his office.

Chávez explained that the affidavit certifies that no gifts or money were received before the granting of the contract and that prior to formalizing the contract no such benefits were negotiated either.

The interests of the contractor “represent COR3 and cannot be lent to do favors to family members of any official or public employee of COR3,” the official said, adding that contractors will have to assure they will not represent an opposing party, nor make payments to any contractor or government employee to keep the contract in force.

In addition, the document makes it clear contractors and subcontractors certify by signing that they will avoid any conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest and that they have not been involved in any guilty plea amid any charges.

“Recovery work continues. Transforming the Island with a vision towards the future by implementing cost-effective solutions using innovative ideas, best practices and revitalizing economic development is one of our objectives. We are focused on working to strengthen and enhance the ability of Puerto Rico to resist and recover from future disasters with responsibility, in a clear and transparent manner,” Chávez added.




Puerto Rico lawmaker: Fiscal board member should not be confirmed by Senate

(CyberNews)

Rep. Tatito Hernández urges U.S. senators to consider Carlos García’s ‘conflicts of interest’ 

SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Rep. Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez said Tuesday that he wrote to the U.S. Senate alleging evidence of conflicts of interest and ethics with regard to Carlos García, a member of the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board, as the upper chamber’s process to confirm the board’s appointments is underway.

“Since the first day, we have been consistent and denounced García’s conflicts of interest as a former adviser and government official, and now as a member of the board. Only a few days after the Senate has resumed its work and following the decision of the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit of Boston to extend the evaluation process of the members of the board, we want the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of the federal Senate, Lisa Murkowski, Senator Joe Manchin and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez to have knowledge about the findings of our investigation,” Hernández said at a press conference.

“In this second evaluation process, the board nominees will be evaluated as federal officials, to whom section 109 of the Federal Code of Ethics will apply, specifically section 208 of title 18 on conflict of interest, and section 102 on the disclosure of finances,” he added.

Hernández detailed the following findings and said he would send a copy to the senators, as well as to the congresswoman, who has been questioning the accountability of the board’s members, and for which she introduced HR 683, the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act. The findings are the following:

— From 2001 to 2006 he was the Director of Banking Investments at Santander Securities and then President; from 2006 to 2009 he served as Vice President, Senior Executive President and President of Banco Santander.

— From 2009 to 2011 he chaired the Government Development Bank (GDB) and since 2017 is a member of the Fiscal Control Board.

— Garcia was part of one of the entities sued in litigation over Pension Obligation Bonds (POBs). As a member of the Board of Directors of the Santander Group from 2001 to 2009, he was responsible for the transactions of Santander Securities, one of the main subsidiaries of the Santander Group, which, together with UBS Financial Services and Ramírez & Co., carried out the issuance of Puerto Rico Retirement System bonds. Santander actively participated in the issuance and sale of a large part of the bonds as a member of the underwriters’ group.

— García, as the government’s chief financial officer appointed in 2009, allowed that the Retirement Systems Administration not invest the money from the issuance of retirement bonds so that their performance would repay the debt and the surplus would capitalize the system. This provoked the acceleration of the bankruptcy of the Retirement System and not only defrauded the system, but also deceived the cooperative members and retirees of the private sector of our country that lent them their life savings.

— As president of the GDB between the 2009-2011 period, he made six (6) issuances of COFINA [acronym for Sales Tax Financing Corp.] bonds and increased the borrowing margin from $9 billion to $16 billion. He created the COFINA scheme that differentiates between senior holders and subordinates, placing the full burden of the risk on local capital, to then, as a member of the Board, agree on the disastrous restructuring agreement of COFINA in 2018.

— In the same way, as President of the GDB, he used the scheme of issuing Public Buildings Authority (PBA) bonds, managing the money excessive fashion through the Infrastructure Financing Authority (AFI). But, as a member of the Board, he consented to declare his own PBA-issued bonds unconstitutional, for allegedly exceeding the borrowing margin.

“Garcia’s conflict of interest in the Fiscal Control Board is no longer limited only to his participation as president of the GDB in the transaction of the Retirement Systems, but also, as part of the Board of Directors of the Santander Group, he also supervised and was aware of the subscription, issuance and sale of bonds that Santander Securities managed. The question is, how can Carlos García participate in the evaluation of the legality of the issuance of the bonds by being a member of the [fiscal board], if he, himself, endorsed, sold and bought” them, the lawmaker questioned.

“It is not possible that this gentleman continues being part of the Fiscal Control Board. That is why our call to the Senate and the Congress is to question each of the nominees of the Board about their participation in public finance transactions, whether as a consultant, provider or intermediary. Likewise, whether they have received any contract or benefit from any of the investment institutions in Puerto Rico. 

“Also, we call on the director of the Board, Natalie Jaresko, to answer the information request we made on June 4, 2019, about how the members of the [board] voted when they approved the different resolutions adopted by this entity since its creation, since, to date, we have not received a response. It is time for accountability and to make this information public,” Hernández concluded.

Jaime El Koury, the board’s chief legal counsel, has told Caribbean Business in the past that the board “takes the issue of conflicts of interest very seriously. We have implemented a robust system of financial disclosures, which are made available to the public, and Ethics Advisor monitoring to ensure conflicts of interest are identified and avoided. Our process is not based on speculation, but on facts.”




U.S. Treasury sued for information on Puerto Rico fiscal board appointments

U.S. Treasury building in Washington, D.C. (CB photo)

Center for Investigative Journalism, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Center for Constitutional Rights demand related documents after filing Freedom of Information Act request in 2017

SAN JUAN – A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in New York to demand information related to the process carried out when appointing members of Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board, especially documents on potential “ethical conflicts” and disclosure of financial interests that were required, as well as other details about the panel’s establishment under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (Promesa).

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI), LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Center for Constitutional Rights against the U.S. Treasury Department under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

“The initial request for information originated in 2017, and the plaintiffs claim the Treasury breached its legal obligations when failing to deliver the documents related to FOIA request, “despite having admitted that it has documents,” the CPI, which is a nonprofit organization that trains journalists and has a legal program to help it in its objective of “working for freedom of information in Puerto Rico,” said in a release.

The lawsuit details 15 types of requests, including the “criteria for the evaluation of the candidates to belong to the Board, which agencies intervened, documents submitted by each candidate, how they established considerations of potential conflicts of interest, and professional and personal background information that was used in the evaluation of the candidates, among others,” the CPI explained.

“Having access to these documents takes on new relevance when the re-nomination of current candidates is before the consideration of Congress and when the expiration term, in August, of these appointments nears. In addition, a federal appellate court has said the way in which the current members were appointed was unconstitutional, which makes the need to learn how the candidates’ nominations process and their appointments by the Treasury was handled much more pertinent,” said CPI’s executive director, Carla Minet.

The Treasury’s delay in producing the documents, the CPI said, “is compounded by the refusal of the Fiscal Control Board to the request for some of these same materials about its members, such as the financial disclosure reports, which they have alleged are not included in the files of the Board because it was not constituted at the time.”

The CPI explained that following the FOIA filing, Treasury requested the petition be limited, which the CPI agreed to “without waiving its eventual right to maintain the original request.” Treasury also said it had to redact some of the documents before delivery, “and promised to deliver on dates it never complied with, in addition to denying an expedited process” to honor the request.

“Over the past two years, we have exhausted all administrative processes before the Treasury Department to obtain the information requested. Our request is for public information that above all should have been available from the beginning for the sake of transparency and accountability of an entity that was not elected and that operates by the legal imposition of the Congress of the United States. The refusal to answer our requests on basic aspects of a Board that, in essence, is controlling the destiny of our country is outrageous,” Minet said Wednesday.

“The lack of transparency of both the Trump administration and the Fiscal Control Board appointed by the federal government has led us to have to sue to request basic information from that entity that should already be public. The people of Puerto Rico and the general public should have had the information we requested since the nominations for the board began almost three years ago,” Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, of LatinoJustice, added in the release.

The CPI said it is concerned about the background of some of the board members, and that their “affiliations have motivated other suits on potential conflicts of interest with respect to their functions on the Board,” which it added raises concerns about the “type of governance and accountability in the absence of effective citizen participation and lack of oversight of its conduct and policies.”

The lawsuit requests the court to deliver all related documents and continue to search for files that may fall within the scope of the request, in addition to preventing Treasury from continuing to deny the requests and that the department cover the hired attorneys’ fees.

The seven members of the fiscal board that was established when Congress passed Promesa on June 30, 2016, were picked for their “requisite financial, management and legal areas listed in the statute,” the lawsuit reads, adding that the panel exercises significant control over policy-making decisions in Puerto Rico.

The suit lists the following request for records to Treasury pursuant to the FOIA on Jan. 27, 2017, via email:

1) Records indicating the criteria that were used to evaluate and select the candidates for the Board and how these criteria were determined to be the most useful for the skills needed in carrying out the functions of the Board;  

2) Records indicating the weight given to each criterion in evaluating each candidate’s nomination for the Board;

3) Records indicating which agencies, entities or personnel were involved in determining the criteria for evaluating candidates for the Board;

4) Records submitted by each candidate for consideration in their appointment, upon or after their appointment, including financial disclosures and documents, conflict of interest forms or information, personal and professional background, interest statement, who they were recommended by and their professional qualifications;

5) Records indicating how each candidate was evaluated with respect to the criteria and results of their evaluations;

6) Records indicating which agencies, entities or personnel were involved in the process of evaluating all nominations for candidates for the Board, and what their respective roles were;  

7) Records indicating the process for establishing what the conflict of interest policy would consist of for potential Board members;  

8) Records indicating the process for determining conflicts of interest of prospective Board members and which agencies, entities or personnel were involved in evaluating whether any conflicts of interest existed;  

9) Records indicating whether any conflicts of interest for candidates for the Board were determined, and if so, what they consisted of and how they were addressed;

10) Records indicating what information was examined with respect to the professional and personal backgrounds of candidates for the Board, and by whom;  

11) Records indicating the considerations, if any, of the relationship, knowledge of, or residency in Puerto Rico for candidates for the Board;

12) Records concerning and/or reflecting any communications, inquiries or requests for information, documents, reports, or data from any member of the Board and/or their staff to any agency of the federal government or official of such agency;

13) Records concerning and/or reflecting any communications, inquiries or requests for information, documents, reports, or data from staff of any agency of the federal government or official of such agency to any member of the Board and/or their staff;

14) Communications, reports, updates or information provided by any member of the Board and/or their staff to the Treasury Department, an official in the Treasury Department, or any other agency or official of the federal government concerning the status of the Board’s work;

15) Communications, reports, updates or information provided by any staff member of the Treasury Department, an official in the Treasury Department, or any other agency or official of the federal government to any member of the Board and/or their staff concerning the status of the Board’s work.

Access the full complaint for injunctive relief here.




Attorney general asked to investigate, seek removal of Puerto Rico fiscal board member

SAN JUAN – The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate Ana Matosantos, a member of Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board, and seek her removal.

The conservative group, which says it promotes ethics in government, cited “apparent” conflict of interest violations by Matosantos. The NLPC said it found information where Matosantos’ “family business and other private companies with which she has a financial relationship stand to directly benefit from actions of the board.”

The NLPC said it believes the fiscal board’s vote to put the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) into the Promesa federal law’s Title III bankruptcy “placed Ana in a clear conflict of interest,” since the board “has gone on to push for the utility to be privatized and set a renewable energy goal of 60%,” which “are potential windfalls for Matosantos Commercial Corporation and its related entities and beneficial owners.”

Saying that weeks before she was selected to be a member of the board, Matosantos became director of Matosantos Commercial Corp. (MCC), which the NLPC describes as a “family-owned multinational conglomerate whose main facility is in Puerto Rico” that has “significant issues before the Oversight Board concerning a renewable energy deal it has put in place with PREPA.”

Conflicts-of-Interest Rule Weakens Promesa Junta

A deal MCC “worked out” with Prepa, the group said, allows the company to sell renewable energy produced in its facilities to Puerto Rico, adding that the “operation they’ve constructed on their premises involves several companies with hidden ownership.”

The group says its investigation “uncovered at least two renewable energy generation assets worth millions of dollars related to MCC” and that Matosantos “has intimate knowledge of the deal between the family-owned business and PREPA….”

“Organic Power LLC and Gegloma Realty Corp. appear to have acted as vehicles for MCC to obscure the true beneficial owners of the renewable energy projects maintained on MCC facilities. Gegloma Realty is an entity that Ana Matosantos lists as an asset in her financial disclosure form. Organic Power LLC was created by the chief financial officer of MCC, Miguel Perez. Mr. Perez is also the secretary of Gegloma Realty. This has created a situation where the renewable energy transactions between MCC, Gegloma Realty, and Organic Power LLC may appear to be at arms length, but in actuality, they are not,” the NLPC published on its site Monday.

Replying to a request for comment, Jaime El Koury, the board’s chief legal counsel, told Caribbean Business that the board “takes the issue of conflicts of interest very seriously. We have implemented a robust system of financial disclosures, which are made available to the public, and Ethics Advisor monitoring to ensure conflicts of interest are identified and avoided. Our process is not based on speculation, but on facts. Since her appointment to the Board, Ms. Matosantos has disclosed her interests in MCC and Glegloma Realty, and no conflict has been found.”

The group concludes in its letter to Sessions that “Matosantos’ ability to be unbiased…throws into question every past and future vote of the Oversight Board related to PREPA.”

NLPC’s letter to Sessions:

Dear General Sessions:

National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) respectfully requests that you initiate an investigation into possible violations of federal conflict of interest laws pertaining to Ana Matosantos, a member of seven-member Puerto Rico Financial Oversight and Management Board (Oversight Board).

We also request that you ask a U.S. District Court judge to remove Ana Matosantos from her role as a member of the Oversight Board during this investigation in order to secure the legitimacy of all board decisions related to the Title III bankruptcy of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

NLPC is a nonprofit organization that promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action. Founded in 1991, our organization has a long history of success in investigating public corruption.

Our request is based on an investigation over the last year that unearthed a troubling pattern of curious business transactions, raising serious questions as to whether decisions being made by Matosantos in her role on the Oversight Board are for her own financial gain as a member of Matosantos Commercial Corporation (MCC). Virtually all of the information suggesting improper behavior comes from materials in the public domain including news articles, reports, audits, real estate records, legal documents, Financial Disclosure Reports, and public information requests.

NLPC began this investigation by looking into a questionable charity in Puerto Rico that only had one employee, Antonio Garcia Padilla, the brother of Puerto Rico governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla. On November 11, 2015, the New York Post reported that New York labor leader Dennis Rivera gave $1.1 million of a nonprofit’s money to a charity tied to Bill Richardson, former New Mexico Governor. The charity, now known as “Sociedad Económica De Amigos del Pais,” was founded in New York in 1996 by Rivera and Richardson as the Hispanic Education and Legal Fund (HELF).

On June 30, 2016 President Barack Obama signed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), establishing an oversight board to guide the territory of Puerto Rico through a debt crisis that endangered the island’s ability to continue as a viable institution governing over 3 million U.S. citizens. Given our previous work in Puerto Rico, we took an immediate interest in the board.

According to Section 109 of PROMESA, “all members and staff of the Oversight Board shall be subject to the Federal conflict of interest requirements described in section 208 of Title 18.”

18 U.S. Code 208 states:

Except as permitted by subsection (b) hereof, whoever, being an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government, or of any independent agency of the United States, a Federal Reserve bank director, officer, or employee, or an officer or employee of the District of Columbia, including a special Government employee, participates personally and substantially as a Government officer or employee, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, in a judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he, his spouse, minor child, general partner, organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, or any person or organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest—Shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.

Moreover, 18 U.S. Code 216 states the “Attorney General may petition an appropriate United States district court for an order prohibiting” a person violating 18 U.S. Code 208 from engaging in that activity.

NLPC is asking for a full investigation into the actions of Ana Matosantos pursuant to her actions as an oversight board member with apparent conflicts of interest. A United States District court judge should be petitioned for her removal from the oversight board during the investigation. And if she is found to be in violation of conflict of interest laws and regulations she should be permanently removed from the board and face other penalties the Attorney General considers appropriate under 18 U.S. Code 216.

On August 31, 2016 President Obama appointed the seven-member oversight board. Ana Matosantos was one of the original seven board members appointed on that day. Since that time Matosantos has acted as a board member at full capacity, voting and debating on all of the issues facing the island. One of the key votes of the Financial Oversight and Management Board was to put the Puerto Rico Power Authority (PREPA) into Title III bankruptcy. It was the only non-unanimous vote the oversight board has made and the actual votes by each board member are not known. But the result of that vote placed Ana Matosantos in a clear conflict of interest due to her financial interests related to PREPA. The board has gone on to push for PREPA to be privatized, and has also set a target of 60% of Puerto Rico’s energy requirements coming from renewable sources. Both the privatization of PREPA and the renewable energy goal are potential windfalls for Matosantos Commercial Corporation and its related entities and beneficial owners.

In the summer of 2016, weeks before she was selected by President Obama to be a member of the oversight board Ana Matosantos accepted a position as a director of Matosantos Commercial Corporation (MCC), a family-owned multinational conglomerate whose main facility is in Puerto Rico. MCC has significant issues before the Oversight Board concerning a renewable energy deal it has put in place with PREPA.

One of the main issues before the board is Ana Matosantos’ connections with PREPA. The deal MCC has worked out with PREPA allows the company to sell renewable energy produced in their facilities to the island of Puerto Rico. The operation they’ve constructed on their premises involves several companies with hidden ownership. Our investigation has shown Ana Matosantos has significant financial interests involving the power-generating aspect of the MCC operation. We have uncovered at least two renewable energy generation assets worth millions of dollars related to MCC. As a director of MCC, Ms. Matosantos has intimate knowledge of the deal between the family-owned business and PREPA, the government owned electricity utility now subject to the oversight board.

As previously stated, NLPC has uncovered two renewable energy projects related to MCC. These projects have the potential to provide a windfall to the individuals behind MCC and the web of companies involved in their renewable energy operation. Organic Power LLC and Gegloma Realty Corp appear to have acted as vehicles for MCC to obscure the true beneficial owners of the renewable energy projects maintained on MCC facilities. Gegloma Realty is an entity that Ana Matosantos lists as an asset in her financial disclosure form. Organic Power LLC was created by the chief financial officer of MCC, Miguel Perez. Mr. Perez is also the secretary of Gegloma Realty. This has created a situation where the renewable energy transactions between MCC, Gegloma Realty, and Organic Power LLC may appear to be at arms length, but in actuality, they are not.

The following is a brief overview of the renewable energy projects that NLPC has discovered to have a relationship with the entities with which Ana Matosantos has a financial relationship:

Renewable Energy Asset #1: 999kW Solar Generation Farm.

  • The Matosantos Commercial Corporation owns and operates a taxpayer-subsidized solar energy generation farm in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. This plant stands to benefit from the privatization of PREPA.
  • Documents reveal that the Matosantos Commercial Corporation obtained an incentive payment of $1,152,156 in June 2013 from the Puerto Rico Energy Affairs Administration (PREAA), an agency under PRIDCO, to build a 999kW solar energy farm at the family’s Vega Baja headquarters. As a condition to receive the money, the construction on the solar energy farm had to be completed in one year (i.e. June 2014). However, the Puerto Rico Green Energy Fund extended the completion date to March 2015
  • Documents from 2015 highlight a previously unknown agreement between MCC’s solar energy farm and PREPA, which connected the family’s solar power generators to the Island’s power grid

Renewable Energy Asset #2: Organic Power LLC.

  • A series of documents reveal that the Matosantos Commercial Corporation is the beneficial owner of Organic Power LLC, despite an elaborate scheme by the Matosantos family and a network of friends, associates and employees to conceal or obscure this fact from the public, Congress, Judge Laura Taylor Swain and the FOMB. They also raise serious questions about how the company was financed and how it secured the land.
  • Organic Power LLC was set up solely to generate renewable energy by recycling organic material, and operates today at the Matosantos family’s Cabo Caribe industrial park in Vega Baja.
  • According to Puerto Rico Department of State files, Organic Power LLC was incorporated by Miguel Perez Valdez on October 26, 2012. Mr. Valdez is also the Finance Director of Matosantos Commercial Corporation and listed as Secretary of Gegloma Realty Corporation on documents from the purchase of the family’s Vega Baja industrial park where Organic Power now operates. Despite being set up as a company supposedly owned and controlled by Perez, he has used his email address as an MCC employee to do official business with the Puerto Rico Secretary of State on behalf of Organic Power.
  • On December 8, 2015, Organic Power LLC obtained a $3,763,000 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration for as-yet unknown purposes. On the same day, December 8, 2015, Organic Power LLC signed a $250,000 contract with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Land Authority for “purchase, sale and/or rental of buildings.” It appears that the Land Authority contract was a 10-year lease taken out by Organic Power on two lots of undeveloped land close to the Matosantos family’s Vega Baja industrial park.
  • In February 2016, PRIDCO quietly passed a resolution authorizing Gegloma Realty to sell part of the Matosantos family’s Vega Baja industrial park to Organic Power LLC. The PRIDCO Resolution notes that the main purpose of the sale is for Organic Power to build and operate a plant for recycling organic material and generating renewable energy.
  • But curiously, the resolution also states “this project is of great strategic importance for the Matosantos group of companies and for the entire region for its economic and environmental impact. It represents an investment of $10.7 million in capital and will create around 15 direct jobs and 45 indirect jobs.”
  • All other public documents connected to Organic Power have obscured the Matosantos family’s role in Organic Power, but the PRIDCO Resolution establishes a clear connection, indicating the enormous financial investment being made in this energy generation asset. It also has obscured the fact that Miguel Perez, the MCC executive listed as the owner of Organic Power, was also the Secretary of Gegloma Realty when the Matosantos family first bought the Vega Baja industrial park from PRIDCO in 2010. This creates the appearance that the entire operation as being orchestrated by MCC and the family’s web of companies for the benefit of the family’s commercial interests.

We believe that we have raised serious questions about Ana Matosantos’ ability to be unbiased, and avoid the apparent conflict of interest she has in her position on the Oversight Board. This in turn throws into question every past and future vote of the Oversight Board related to PREPA. In no way can this not be considered a conflict of interest, as defined by 18 U.S. Code 208.

Furthermore, the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE) under 18 U.S. Code 208 states that “an employee has a disqualifying financial interest in a particular matter only if there is a close causal link between a particular Government matter in which the employee participates and any effect on the asset or other interest (direct effect) and if there is a real possibility of gain or loss as a result of development in or resolution of that matter (predictable effect).” OGE goes on to explain, “the criminal prohibition has no de minis level. That is, it applies where any financial interest exists, no matter how small.”

Virtually all of the facts in this matter are from public sources and are fully documented.

The major issues on which we are requesting an investigation are textbook examples of the types of ethics cases for which the public, the media and Congress are entitled to a full, fair and professional investigation.