During the Guam 2022 primary elections, several candidates and political organizations failed to file campaign finance reports within the given deadline. According to the Guam Election Commission, 20 organizations and campaigns did not file their financial reports for the mandatory deadlines.
According to the committee, eight senatorial candidates did not file a final campaign finance report before the deadline of September 12: John Ananich, Vince Borja, Ian Catling, Harvey Egna, Roy Gamboa, Franklin Meno, and William Parkinson. The political action committee Action PAC also failed to file a final report before this date.
The GEC will assess and determine the fines for those who failed to file. However, despite having the jurisdiction to fine late filers, the GEC cannot fine candidates who missed the deadline without launching an investigation.
This whole process can take up to a few months. Legal counsel attorney Geraldine Diaz said, “The election statute allows the commission to promulgate rules regarding the fine process and how much to fine… And in order to do that, we have to look through the Administrative Adjudication Laws, which is the rule-making process.”
Candidates who failed to file their reports are still allowed to appear on the November ballot, despite some having issues with this policy.
The consequences for non-filers, specifically concerning fines, are determined on a case-by-case basis. The law requires financial reports to be submitted 10 days before and 10 days after the election or primary. However, the GEC does not have the capacity or resources to oversee every report, especially because they all come in at the same time.
The Election Commission Executive Director Maria Pangelina said, “We’ve been asking for this schedule to be changed, through our recommendations to the Legislature.” She is pushing for the reports to be made quarterly to better inform the candidates of deadlines and give the committee more time to review the reports. In fact, many of the candidates who failed to file were unaware of the deadlines.
According to Pangelina, the commission attempted to inform the candidates, but it was not always effective. She said the committee had “lots of candidates seminars poorly attended. In all of them, the major discussion was campaign finance.” She also told the Pacific Daily News that the fines are not evaluated until after the election in December.