Yesterday an illegal lobbying scheme was uncovered by soyPATRIA, in which the Government of Puerto Rico is using public funds to promote their discredited view of the 2012 Plebiscite results. Using an unconstitutional resolution approved in the territorial legislature, the results of the past plebiscite are being misrepresented to the members of Congress who received a letter from the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration with the resolution.
— Dexter (@dexter_pol) June 13, 2013
The scheme, one many had predicted would happen, was uncovered when the letter arrived at the offices of each congressional member. Previous actions by the PRFAA, including the hiring of conservative lobbyist Charlie Black had prompted sharp rebukes from the president of New Progressive Party and current Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, who had warned that if the administration of Alejandro Garcia Padilla engaged in this type of behavior using public funds they would resort to legal action. As of yet, Pierluisi has not reacted to the letters.
The issue with the actions of the territorial administration lies in the conflict they entail with both the Constitution of Puerto Rico and electoral law. Beginning with the interpretation contained in the resolution and often espoused by members of the pro status quo Popular Democratic Party, there is a problem with the law. Courts in both the mainland and Puerto Rico have clearly outlined that in electoral events, blank ballots cannot be counted as votes and used to influence of affect results, seeing how the intent of the voter cannot be ascertained. The PPD has ignored this and has continued to espouse its position, repeating it to members of Congress, the media and the general public.
Further complicating the situation, the Constitution of Puerto Rico strictly protects the will of the people, and the resolution by the legislative assembly of Puerto Rico is undermining that will. By adopting a legally incorrect interpretation, the government has effectively conspired to work against the will of the voters, seeking to impose its ideological preference, in the face of electoral results that run counter to their ideals.
These moves are the latest by a Government seemingly in disarray, that is not only openly acting against the will of the people and the law, but embracing and causing a constitutional crisis back in Puerto Rico, where the Governor, and Senate President Eduardo Bhatia are openly defying the Supreme Court, stating that they will ignore the court’s decisions if they do not agree with them.