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Complaint filed with EC alleges ASPA violated law

fili@samoanews.com

Local businessman Bryan Jackson yesterday filed with the Election Commission a complaint alleging violation of territorial election laws by the American Samoa Power Authority and its board of directors for failing to file the required election reports after ASPA campaigned to defeat the veto override referendum.

ASPA board and management in an undated memo to the ASPA family and the community urged voters to vote “no” on the veto override referendum that was defeated in the general election. And on the eve of election day, ASPA board members were on KVZK-TV, also urging voters to vote “no” on the referendum.

Jackson, who provides research and consultant services, said in an e-mail to Samoa News and KHJ that “the ultimate reason for going through all this process is because I believe the public has a right to know how much ASPA spent — and where the money came from — in opposing the constitutional amendment.”

Besides news media reports, Jackson, in his two-page complaint, said he “personally observed an advertisement prominently displayed on ASPA’s web site which was in clear opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment, as this advertisement showed a vote of ‘no/leai’ marked on the question as it appeared on the ballot.”

“Therefore, as a result of their actions taken in publicly opposing the proposed Constitutional amendment, including but not necessarily limited to making expenditures and advertisements to defeat said amendment, ASPA and its board of directors met the definitions” in local laws -  ASCA 16.1701 —  dealing with filing reports of election campaign contributions and expenses, the complaint states in part.

Additionally, ASPA is also subject to another requirement which is that “as a committee advocating either for or against a question or issue on the ballot,” shall file an organizational report on a specific time period cited in the law.

Jackson went on to cite other provisions of election laws that ASPA must comply with, such as financial reports that outline the total amount of contribution. However, he said that as of Nov. 9, neither ASPA nor its board has filed the required reports.

Therefore, under election laws, Jackson said he is filing the complaint with the Election Commission and through their failure to file their required reports, “ASPA and its board of directors have willfully and flagrantly violated the election laws of American Samoa.”

He also asked the Election Committee to order ASPA and its board “to immediately come in full compliance” with local election law and file all reports as required by law — which includes organizational, preliminary, final and supplemental reports”.

Copies of the complaint were to be forwarded to the ASPA board members and ASPA’s chief executive officer.

(Click on attachment below to download pdf of letter.)

Additionally, Rules and regulations governing elections in American Samoa can be found in Chapter 17, Title 6 of the American Samoa Code Annotated.

BACKGROUND

In Tuesday’s Samoa News, Senator Galea'i Tu’ufuli responded publicly to ASPA’s actions, accusing the semi-autonomous authority of corrupting the election process and the senator promised to do something about it; while former candidate for lt. governor Sandra King Young in an Ed Op stated, “The misguided propaganda campaign by ASPA against the veto override referendum was a shameful disservice to our people, our territory and especially to the governance of our government.”

AttachmentSize
Letter to Election Commission.pdf200.95 KB


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