Pedro Pierluisi
Pedro R. Pierluisi.jpg
Governor of Puerto Rico
Assumed office
January 2, 2021
Preceded byWanda Vázquez Garced
In office
August 2, 2019 – August 7, 2019
De facto[a]
Preceded byRicardo Rosselló
Succeeded byWanda Vázquez Garced
Acting Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
In office
July 31, 2019 – August 2, 2019
Preceded byLuis Rivera Marín
Succeeded byElmer Román
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2017
Preceded byLuis Fortuño
Succeeded byJenniffer González
Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 1993 – January 2, 1997
GovernorPedro Rosselló
Preceded byHéctor Rivera Cruz
Succeeded byJosé Fuentes Agostini
Personal details
Born
Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia

(1959-04-26) April 26, 1959 (age 62)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Political partyNew Progressive
Other political
affiliations
Democratic
Children4
RelativesJosé Jaime Pierluisi (brother)
ResidenceLa Fortaleza
Education

Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia[b] (born April 26, 1959) is a Puerto Rican attorney, lobbyist,[2] and politician who has been serving as the 14th Governor of Puerto Rico since January 2, 2021.

He has previously served as Secretary of Justice (1993–1997), Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in the United States House of Representatives (2009–2017), and as Acting Secretary of State. Pierluisi was positioned as de facto governor of Puerto Rico from August 2 to August 7, 2019, when the territory's Supreme Court ruled his assumption of office was unconstitutional.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Pierluisi was born on April 26, 1959 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His parents are Jorge Pierluisi Díaz and Doris Urrutia. He attended Colegio Marista of Guaynabo, graduating in 1977. In 1981, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Tulane University, and later earned a Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University Law School in 1984. He was President of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association chapter at Tulane University.[4] Later, he was President of the George Washington University International Law Society from 1982–1983.[citation needed] During his studies at George Washington University, Pierluisi interned at the congressional office of then-Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Baltasar Corrada del Río.[5]

Early political career[edit]

Pierluisi first practiced law as a private attorney in Washington, D.C. from 1984 until 1990. Notably, Mr. Pierluisi was one of the lead attorneys representing the government of Peru in its lawsuit against the Hunt brothers, Nelson Bunker, William Herbert, and Lamar for trying to corner the silver market in the late 1970s. The lawsuit resulted in a $180 million damages award for the plaintiff. He then practiced law in Puerto Rico from 1990 until 1993.[6]

In 1993, Governor Pedro Rossello nominated Pierluisi to serve as Puerto Rico's Secretary of Justice. His nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Puerto Rican legislature. [7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

On May 18, 2007, Pierluisi announced his candidacy for Resident Commissioner, Puerto Rico's sole delegate to the United States Congress in the November 2008 elections. He accompanied then current Resident Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Luis Fortuño in the March 9, 2008 NPP primary ticket.

According to the candidate reports filed before the Federal Elections Commission (FEC),[8] Pierluisi led the other NPP candidates by a ten-to-one margin in fundraising, having raised over $450,000 in 2007, while opponent Charlie Rodriguez had only raised $47,000 and Dr. Miriam Ramírez de Ferrer had not reported any fundraising.

On March 9, 2008, Pierluisi won the primary with 61% of the vote against former Senate President Charlie Rodriguez, who polled 33%, and former Sen. Miriam Ramírez, who obtained 6% of the vote.

On November 4, 2008, he won the post of Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico with over 53% of the vote. He was sworn in on January 6, 2009 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He was the top vote-getter in the 2012 general elections, when he was reelected to a second four-year term and outpolled his running-mate, then Gov. Luis Fortuño as well as current Gov. Alejandro García Padilla.

Pierluisi is a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico which advocates statehood for the Island territory. He beat his rivals by over one million votes - the largest margin of victory for a Resident Commissioner in Puerto Rico's history. While on Capitol Hill, Pierluisi caucused with the House Democratic Caucus.[9]

As Resident Commissioner, Pierluisi introduced H.R. 2499, which sought to provide for a plebiscite to be held in Puerto Rico to determine the island's ultimate political status. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives but did not receive a vote in the Senate, and lapsed following the sine die adjournment of the 111th Congress. In a separate bill, H.R. 870, Pierluisi sought to add Puerto Rico to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code so that the island's government-owned corporations could file for bankruptcy — a privilege they do not enjoy due to the territory's exclusion from the code.

On May 15, 2013, Pierluisi filed H.R. 2000, a bill to admit Puerto Rico as a state.[10]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Accusations of conflicts of interest and corruption allegations[edit]

Pierluisi was accused of ignoring corruption while he was Secretary of Justice because he had exonerated Senator Freddy Valentín Acevedo from accusations that Valentín had asked top officials at the Department of Natural Resources to wave the fees and fines of associates. Years later, unrelated corruption investigations resulted in Valentin's conviction.[11]

In April 2016, while legislation to deal with Puerto Rico's fiscal crisis was being discussed in the House of Representatives, The New York Times published an article covering possible conflicts of interest involving Pierluisi.[12] The article covers various corporate clients from Pierluisi's wife personal firm who would benefit directly from bills proposed by Pierluisi, specifically those amending Chapter 9 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. These firms had recently invested in Puerto Rican bonds. In addition, the newspaper established that Pierluisi's wife founded the firm shortly after Pierluisi was sworn into Congress in 2009. In the 8 years since he was elected resident commissioner, Pierluisi's average net worth had increased 27-fold.[13][14]

Allegations have been made regarding Pierluisi's links with the shipping and transportation industry. A federal court ruled against three companies, which had made donations to his campaign, for conspiring to increase transportation fees. Requests for federal investigations on Pierluisi were founded partly on the allegation that his links with shipping companies impact maritime cabotage policy, leading to increased cost of living in Puerto Rico.[15]

Rosselló succession[edit]

In late July 2019 the embattled governor, Ricardo Rosselló, nominated Pierluisi to serve as Secretary of State of Puerto Rico. He was additionally sworn into the role as a recess appointment. Rosselló then summoned Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly for them to issue their advice and consent. The House of Representatives approved his nomination 26–21.[16] However, the following day, members of the Puerto Rican Senate announced that action on his nomination would not occur until August 1. When Rosselló resigned on August 2, he declared Pierluisi to be governor although he had not been confirmed by both the House and the Senate as secretary of state, and Pierluisi affirmed Rosselló's declaration. Pierluisi's accession to the governorship was challenged in the courts as being unconstitutional.[17] On August 5, the Puerto Rico Senate filed a lawsuit against his appointment as governor by contending that unless he obtained the Senate's assent, his governorship was unconstitutional.[18] Two days later, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds and ordered him to be removed from office effective 5 p.m. AST on August 7.[19][20]

2020 elections[edit]

On August 16, 2020, Pierluisi won the PNP gubernatorial primary race against governor Wanda Vázquez Garced. With 75.6% of voting stations reporting, Pierluisi has won about 57.9% of the votes over Vazquez’s 42.1%, clinching the nomination for New Progressive Party.[21][22]

On July 20, 2020, Pierluisi endorsed Joe Biden for the 2020 United States presidential election.[23]

On November 3, 2020, Pierluisi was elected as the Governor of Puerto Rico. He received approximately 32.9% of all the votes, distributed among 6 candidates that ran for office.[24]

Tenure[edit]

On Saturday, January 2, 2021, Pierluisi took the oath of office. At 8:00 a.m., there was a private ceremony in which he took the oath from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz Rodríguez.[25] This was followed by a controversial public ceremony on the northern side of the Capitol of Puerto Rico, where Pierluisi retook the oath of office publicly in front of 400 guests during the COVID-19 Pandemic and gave his inaugural address.[26]

Among the confrontations between the governor and the PPD majority legislature was the nomination of Elba Aponte as Secretary of Education. After a hearing to evaluate the candidate, the House of Representatives rejected the governor's nominee and he withdrew her nomination on April 17.[27]

On January 24, 2021 the governor declared a state of emergency related to gender based violence on the island.[28]

The 15 of March the governor indicated the state of emergency related to the maritime transport from the main island to Vieques and Culebra would remain in effect until 2022 when the ferry transport system would be privatized. [29]After protest from groups over the inadequate ferry service, which lead to clashes between police and protesters, the governor indicated he supported the actions of the "Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Acción" the local branch of the security forces involved in the protest. [30]

Personal life[edit]

Pierluisi revealed in 2019 that he was divorcing his wife,[31] Maria Elena Carrión, who is the sister of controversial Financial Oversight Board president, José Carrión III. This would be his second divorce. After his first divorce, he met Maria Elena in a blind date set up by his younger sister. Pierluisi's father, Jorge Pierluisi, served as Secretary of Puerto Rico's Housing Department under Gov. Carlos Romero Barceló from 1977 to 1985. His brother, José Jaime Pierluisi, an economic adviser to then governor Pedro Rossello, was shot and killed during a carjacking in 1994.[32]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ His swearing in was deemed unconstitutional and he was duly removed from office on August 7, 2019. Wanda Vázquez Garced was subsequently sworn in as governor.
  2. ^ Primera Hora (2009) "El nuevo comisionado residente en Washington, Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia..."[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Busca auxilio federal". Primera Hora (in Spanish). January 7, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Senado Registro de Cabilderos". www.senado.pr.gov (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  3. ^ "Portal de la Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico". www.ramajudicial.pr. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  4. ^ "Free Hosting Account Suspended - x10hosting". Statehoodpr.org. Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  5. ^ "Pedro Pierluisi, 1959-" (PDF).
  6. ^ "PIERLUISI, Pedro | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  7. ^ "¿Quién es Pedro Pierluisi?". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  8. ^ FEC 2007–2008 Cycle (2008-06-11). "Pedro Pierluisi Total Receipts". FEC. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  9. ^ Newlin, Eliza. Res. Com. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR, At-Large) – The Almanac of American Politics. Nationaljournal.com. Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
  10. ^ – Puerto Rico Report. PuertoRicoReport.com (2013-05-15). Retrieved on 2013-05-13.
  11. ^ "Acusan a Pierluisi de mentir en caso de corrupción". Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  12. ^ "Puerto Rico's Prosperous D.C. Power Couple". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  13. ^ "Puerto Rico rep in D.C. profiting from wife's Wall Street ties". www.efe.com.
  14. ^ "THESE are the Puerto Ricans who owe $72 billion to the United States…and THEY should pay it". July 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Solicitan investigación federal sobre relación de Pierluisi con intereses navieros hallados culpables por fraude y conspiración". Telemundo Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  16. ^ "Puerto Rico governor resigns as promised; successor sworn in". POLITICO. Associated Press.
  17. ^ "Pedro Pierluisi was sworn in as Puerto Rico's governor. His opponents are still questioning his legitimacy". CNN. August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  18. ^ "Puerto Rico's Senate files lawsuit to oust newly sworn-in governor". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  19. ^ DÁNICA COTO (August 7, 2019). "Puerto Rico High Court Overturns Pedro Pierluisi as Governor". Bloomberg News. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.
  20. ^ Mazzei, Patricia; Robles, Frances (2019-08-07). "Puerto Rico Supreme Court Rules New Governor Was Unlawfully Sworn In". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 16, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 20, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Kuilan, Gloria Ruiz (July 20, 2020). "Pedro Pierluisi vota por Joe Biden". Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  24. ^ https://elecciones2020.ceepur.org/Noche_del_Evento_92/index.html#es/default/GOBERNADOR_Resumen.xml
  25. ^ Rosario, Frances (2021-01-02). "Pedro Pierluisi jura como gobernador en el Tribunal Supremo" [Pedro Pierluisi Sworn in as Governor in the Supreme Court]. El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2020-01-02. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  26. ^ Colón Dávila, Javier (2021-01-02). "Pedro Pierluisi promete un gobierno diverso y libre de corrupción en su primer mensaje al país" [Pedro Pierluisi Promises a Diverse and Free-form-Corruption Government in his First Message to the Nation]. El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2020-01-02. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  27. ^ "Gobernador retira nombramiento de Elba Aponte" [Governor retires nomination of Elba Aponte]. El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). 2021-04-17. Archived from the original on 2021-05-06. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  28. ^ "Gobernador declara Estado de Emergencia por Violencia de Género | La Fortaleza" [Governor declares state of emergency for gender violence]. www.fortaleza.pr.gov (in Spanish). 2021-01-04. Archived from the original on 2021-01-24. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  29. ^ Capella, Manuel Guillama (2021-01-15). "Estado de emergencia por transportación a Vieques y Culebra podría prolongarse hasta 2022" [State of emergency for transport to Vieques and Culebra could last until 2022]. Metro (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2021-03-15. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  30. ^ "Pierluisi respalda acciones de la Policía durante manifestación en muelle de Culebra | Metro" [Pierluisi backs actions of the police during manifestation in port of Culebra]. www.metro.pr (in Spanish). 2021-03-29. Archived from the original on 2021-05-31. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  31. ^ "Pedro Pierluisi confirma que atraviesa proceso de divorcio". Telemundo Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  32. ^ "Jose Jaime Pierluisi, 28, an Aide To Puerto Rico Governor, Dies". The New York Times. June 11, 1994.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Héctor Rivera Cruz
Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico
1993–1997
Succeeded by
José Fuentes Agostini
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Luis Fortuño
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
2009–2017
Succeeded by
Jenniffer González
Party political offices
Preceded by
Luis Fortuño
Chair of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party
2013–2016
Succeeded by
Ricardo Rosselló
Preceded by
Thomas Rivera Schatz
Acting
Chair of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party
2020–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Ricardo Rosselló
New Progressive nominee for Governor of Puerto Rico
2020
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Luis G. Rivera Marín
Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
Acting

2019
Succeeded by
Elmer Román
Preceded by
Ricardo Rosselló
Governor of Puerto Rico
De facto

2019
Succeeded by
Wanda Vázquez Garced
Preceded by
Wanda Vázquez Garced
Governor of Puerto Rico
2021–present
Incumbent