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Florida’s Senators, Darren Soto Want More Oversight, Accountability for Puerto Rico

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Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., want more federal oversight and accountability into the board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances.

Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) is responsible for certifying fiscal plans for the island as well as restructuring debt, approving budgets and government contracts, funding essential public services, and reviewing legislation for fiscal compliance. Unfortunately, a lack of necessary conflict of interest policies has resulted in companies, like McKinsey & Company, to be able to profit from both sides by advising the oversight body, Puerto Rico’s FOMB, and also the beneficiary body, at the same time,” Rubio’s office noted.

To rectify that, Rubio and U.S. Rep. Jenniffer González Colón, R-PR, introduced the “Financial Oversight and Management Board Integrity Act” to “prohibit any third-party advisement or consulting firm from advising the island’s FOMB for the duration of the period that the firm is also providing consulting services to a client that is competing for, or performing on a contract that is awarded by the Puerto Rican government and that is under the oversight responsibility of the FOMB to review and approve.” Scott, Soto and U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-NY, are co-sponsoring the proposal.

“Government corruption and poor fiscal oversight are hurting the people of Puerto Rico. We cannot allow companies, like McKinsey, to exploit the situation. This is common sense: no company should be able to advise the island’s financial oversight and management board while actively advising the very clients who stand to monetarily profit from being granted large contracts from the government of Puerto Rico,” said Rubio.

“The Financial Oversight and Management Board Integrity Act will help improve transparency and accountability of Puerto Rico’s FOMB. I am proud to join Senator Rubio and our colleagues in the House of Representatives as we fight for a better and more prosperous Puerto Rico and increased oversight of taxpayer dollars,” said Scott.

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“As we did last Congress with the PRRADA legislation, we continue to seek increased transparency and trust in the work of the Financial Oversight and Management Board. If Puerto Rico is going to be subjected to this process, we need to be confident that the decisions made by the Board and the advice given to its members is directed in the best interest of the people of Puerto Rico and of a just resolution to the debt settlements, for which it is important to know that the consultants that advise the Board whether a government contract meets the fiscal plan, are not the same as had the contractor as a client when they were writing their proposal or negotiating the contract,” said González Colón.

“We must ensure that the decisions made by the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) are in the best interest of the people of Puerto Rico and not influenced by outside interests. It is also our responsibility to ensure the integrity and transparency of government institutions, including the FOMB. The Financial Oversight and Management Board Integrity Act is a crucial step towards achieving these goals by prohibiting third-party advisory or consulting firms from having any conflicts of interest when advising the FOMB. This bill is a necessary measure to safeguard the integrity of our government and protect the interests of our brothers and sisters on the island,” said Soto.

Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. González Colón’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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