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Pacific News Minute: House Ethics Committee To Investigate Charges Against Delegate From Guam

Phi Nguyen, U.S. House Office of Photography
Michael San Nicolas

Last week, the House Ethics Committee announced an investigation of Democrat Michael San Nicolas, the delegate from Guam. Allegations include a sexual relationship with a member of his staff and misuse of campaign  funds.

In a story originally reported by the Guam Daily Post, a former aide to Guam’s congressional delegate charges that representative San Nicolas reneged on a promise to hire him, and hired his mistress instead.

John Paul Manuel served as chief of staff to then-Senator San Nicolas in the Guam legislature, and also as his campaign chair.

Following San Nicolas’ election, Manuel accompanied him to Washington for congressional orientation, but said they then fell out in arguments over ethics.

“It was part of my job to be his conscience,” Manuel told the Daily Post, but said San Nicolas refused to come clean about the use of campaign funds to pay for trips with his mistress to resorts in the Philippines and Guam.

Manuel, who has since taken a position as senior legislative assistant to another Guam Senator, conceded that he could be characterized as a bitter ex-staffer. The New York Times quoted a brief statement from the delegate’s office as saying “The Congressman welcomes the opportunity for due process.”

While delegates from U.S. territories cannot vote in congress, they play an important role as the territory’s senior representative in Washington. At the moment, for example, Guam in the midst of disputes over expansion of U.S. military facilities, and by the Trump Administration’s diversion of military construction funds intended for Guam to help pay for the President’s controversial border wall with Mexico.

Other non-voting delegates come from the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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