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NEWS: Joel Camacho took $20K in allowances in 2019

(Editor's note: This is the second in an expose of the members of the Commonwealth Legislature, who have taken monthly allowances on top of their salaries)

Watch the video below for more on Chapter 2: Jose Itibus:

Chapter 3: Joel Camacho

By Johnnie Rosario

Rep. Joel Camacho, left, looks on as Gov. Ralph Torres signs legislation

(Tumon, Guam) Freshman Republican Congressman Joel Camacho of the CNMI House of Representatives took $19,800 in legislative allowances in 2019 on top of his $32,000 annual salary from the taxpayers. Mr. Camacho is from Precinct 4.

Mr. Camacho is the chairman of the House Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, which should have been well aware of the government's precarious fiscal situation, when he began taking the allowances in his second month on the job.

It was on February 5, 2019, when Mr. Camacho asked then-Secretary of Finance Larissa Larson for $1,500 in allowance that month. Three days later he asked for the early release of his March allowance, which he requested at $1,500.

Exactly one month later, on March 8, 2019, Mr. Camacho requested an additional $1,000 for his March allowance. Then 13 days later he asked for another $500.

In April 2019 he asked Secretary of Finance David Atalig for $2,000. On May 1, he asked for $2,000 for that month, then on May 28, he needed another $1,200.

In June, Mr. Camacho reduced his allowance to $1,000, then made his single largest request up to that point on July 3: $2,500.

August and September were low allowance months for the congressman: $300 and $600 respectively. Then on October 2 he upped the amount to $1,200, before requesting an additional $500 eight days later and another $500 another six days after that.

On November 12, Mr. Camacho asked for $1,500.

And finally on December 2, 2019, as Advent began, Mr. Camacho asked for a $2,000 allowance.

Mr. Camacho is among those Republican members of the House who have refused to disclose the receipts of their spending of the allowance. In the absence of these receipts, Kandit sent an Open Government Act request for documents pertaining to the disbursal of funds for legislative allowances, and the documents recently were released to us.

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