♦Puerto Rico has a long history of public corruption and abuse of federal funds. Back in 2015 ten government officials in Puerto Rico were arrested for corruption, bribery, honest services wire fraud, extortion and various schemes related to giving payments to friends and family via federal contracts. [LINK] This is the typical corruption PR is known for.
♦A few weeks ago (June 28) the FBI, Public Corruption Unit, posted a notification of an ongoing corruption probe and provided a tip-line for leads related to bribery and/or corruption of public officials. [LINK] This probe is connected to the billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers have provided to Puerto Rico for recovery after hurricane Maria (2017).
So much money is poured into the island that hundreds of local and regional officials seized the opportunity to indulge their friends and family with funds from recovery accounts. This is the widespread corruption President Trump previously drew attention to. This overt and in-the-open corruption is why Nancy Pelosi took the entire Democrat caucus to Puerto Rico in January for a vacation with her favorite lobbyists. Everyone in/around PR knows this corruption is the norm, not the exception.
Today, six more people were indicted under new federal charges, including two government officials: Julia Keleher, who served as Puerto Rico’s education secretary until April; and Ángela Ávila-Marrero, who was the executive director of the Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration until late June. They are variously charged with wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, according to the 32-count indictment.
WASHINGTON – […] The federal indictment says the former officials illegally directed federal funding to politically connected contractors. The arrests come about a month after Congress approved a controversial disaster aid bill that earmarked additional funding for Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017, which were tied up in part because President Trump called Puerto Rico’s officials “incompetent or corrupt.”
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chair of the Natural Resource Committee that oversees Puerto Rico, called on Rosselló to resign amid the ongoing federal investigation.
“We’ve crossed that crucible now,” Grijalva said in interview. “The restoration of accountability is so key going forward.”
Prosecutors said Rosselló was not involved in the investigation, according to the Associated Press.
A spokesman for Rosselló did not immediately return requests for comment.
The arrests come as senior White House officials are searching for new ways to limit the amount of federal aid going to help Puerto Rico, and the island’s allies fear the arrests will give Trump greater justification for curtailing additional aid to the island.
“The governor of Puerto Rico and his administration have now given President Trump the ammunition he needed,” said San Juan Mayor Yulin Cruz, a political opponent of the governor. (read more)
President Trump was exactly right when he both informed and warned voters of what would happen with the money dumped into Puerto Rico. Here’s a reminder: