Pedro Pierluisi

Pedro Pierluisi
Acting Secretary of State of Puerto Rico
In office

July 31, 2019 – August 2, 2019
Preceded by Luis Rivera Marín
Succeeded by Elmer Román
19th Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico
In office

January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Luis Fortuño
Succeeded by Jenniffer González
10th Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico
In office

January 2, 1993 – January 2, 1997
Governor Pedro Rosselló
Preceded by Héctor Rivera Cruz
Succeeded by José Fuentes Agostini
Personal details
Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia

(1959-04-26) April 26, 1959 (age 61)

San Juan, Puerto Rico, U.S.
Political party New Progressive
Other political

Relations José Jaime Pierluisi (brother)

Maria Elena Carrión (wife)

Children 4
Education Tulane University (BA)

George Washington University (JD)

Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia[a] (born April 26, 1959) is a Puerto Rican attorney, lobbyist,[2] and politician who 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]

He served as the Secretary of Justice of Puerto Rico in the 1990s, as well as served as the 19th Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in 2009–2017 in the Congress. Before serving in Congress, Pierluisi worked in the private and public sectors as a lobbyist. Pierluisi, a member of New Progressive and the national Democratic Party was appointed the acting Secretary of State of Puerto Rico in July 2019, and assumed the office of governor on August 2, 2019 upon the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló.[4] Pierluisi stated that if the Senate of Puerto Rico didn't confirm or validate his position as former Secretary of State, he would resign the governorship.[5] However, he subsequently walked back that statement. On August 5, 2019, the Puerto Rico Senate filed a lawsuit against his appointment as governor.[6][7] Two days later, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruled that Pierluisi was sworn in on unconstitutional grounds and removed him from office, effective 5 p.m. AST on August 7, to be replaced by Wanda Vázquez Garced, the Secretary of Justice.[8][9] He was one of the founding members of Membresia Gratis, a top modeling agency in San Juan.

Early life and education [ edit ]

Pierluisi was born on April 26th, 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.[10] 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.[11]

Early 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.[citation needed]

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.

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. Fortuño was a classmate at Colegio Marista, a fellow founding member of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association in 1979, and also a fellow cabinet member of Pierluisi's during Governor Rosselló's first term from 1993–1996.[citation needed]

According to the candidate reports filed before the Federal Elections Commission (FEC),[12] 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. He also leads in fundraising among the four candidates to succeed Resident Commissioner Fortuño in the November 4, 2008 general election.[citation needed]

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. Pierluisi's running mate, Luis Fortuño, also won the NPP nomination for governor with nearly 60% of primary votes.[13]

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. He had more seniority in the House than the congressman who is 254th on the list of seniority.

Pierluisi is a member of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico which advocates statehood for the Island territory. He and former Governor Luis Fortuño, both of the New Progressive Party, beat their 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.[14] He was the sole representative in Congress of the 3.7 million American citizens who reside on the Island.[citation needed]

As Resident Commissioner, Pierluisi focused most of his congressional efforts on bills related to Puerto Rico. He 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. The bill was a fallback against the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis, which threatens local agencies that are unable to restructure their debt.[citation needed]

In a move unrelated to H.R. 2499, a political status referendum was held in Puerto Rico on November 6, 2012. 54% of voters expressed their desire for Puerto Rico's political status to be changed. In a separate vote on the same ballot, 61% supported statehood for Puerto Rico. The status referendum was criticized by all political parties, and almost 500,000 blank ballots were cast in protest. Notwithstanding, on May 15, 2013, Pierluisi filed H.R. 2000, a bill to admit Puerto Rico as a state.[15]

Committee assignments [ edit ]

Caucus memberships [ edit ]

Accusations of Conflicts of Interest and Corruption Allegations [ edit ]

As Secretary of Justice, Pierluisi was credibly accused of enabling the illegal sale of political influence. At the time, some legislators submitted an official complaint that Pierluisi had lied in exonerating Freddy Valentín Acevedo from corruption accusations. As senator, Valentín was accused of accepting compensation for political favors that went against environmental protections. Other complaints said to have been covered up by Pierluisi later resulted in federal investigations[16].

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.[17] 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.[18][19]

Serious accusations 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[20].

Participant in "race" for Puerto Rico's governance after Rosselló's resignation [ edit ]

Unconstitutional Governorship [ edit ]

On July 30, 2019, local media in Puerto Rico reported that 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 on July 31, 2019. Rosselló then summoned Puerto Rico's Congress for them to issue their advice and consent. The House of Representatives approved his nomination 26-21.[21] However, the following day, members of the Puerto Rican Senate announced that action on his nomination would not occur before August 1, 2019. Upon Rosselló's resignation on August 2, 2019, Rosselló 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.[22] On August 5, 2019, 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.[6][7] 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.[8][9]

Personal life [ edit ]

Pierluisi revealed in 2019 that he was divorcing his wife[23], 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.[24]

See also [ edit ]

Notes [ edit ]

  1. ^ 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". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  3. ^ "Portal de la Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico". Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  4. ^ Clark, Bill (August 1, 2019). "Puerto Rico Legislature delays vote on Pedro Pierluisi, possible successor to governor". NBC News. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Pierluisi comienza a atar cabos con jefes de agencias". Noticel. August 3, 2019. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Swanson, Ian (August 5, 2019). "Puerto Rico Senate sues to oust new governor". TheHill.
  7. ^ a b "Puerto Rico: Senate says new governor is illegitimate".
  8. ^ a b DÁNICA COTO (August 7, 2019). "Puerto Rico High Court Overturns Pedro Pierluisi as Governor". Bloomberg News. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.
  9. ^ a b 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.
  10. ^ "Free Hosting Account Suspended - x10hosting". Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  11. ^ "Pedro Pierluisi, 1959-"(PDF).
  12. ^ FEC 2007–2008 Cycle (2008-06-11). "Pedro Pierluisi Total Receipts". FEC. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  13. ^ "Primarias 2008 Escrutinio PNP". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  14. ^ Newlin, Eliza. Res. Com. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR, At-Large) – The Almanac of American Politics. Retrieved on 2012-11-22.
  15. ^ – Puerto Rico Report. (2013-05-15). Retrieved on 2013-05-13.
  16. ^ "Acusan a Pierluisi de mentir en caso de corrupción". Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  17. ^ "Puerto Rico's Prosperous D.C. Power Couple". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  18. ^ "Puerto Rico rep in D.C. profiting from wife's Wall Street ties".
  19. ^ "THESE are the Puerto Ricans who owe $72 billion to the United States…and THEY should pay it". July 7, 2016.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ Press, Associated. "Puerto Rico governor resigns as promised; successor sworn in". POLITICO.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "Pedro Pierluisi confirma que atraviesa proceso de divorcio". Telemundo Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  24. ^ "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

Succeeded by

José Fuentes Agostini
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Luis Fortuño
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico

Succeeded by

Jenniffer González
Party political offices
Preceded by

Luis Fortuño
Chair of the Puerto Rico New Progressive Party

Succeeded by

Ricardo Rosselló
Political offices
Preceded by

Luis G. Rivera Marín
Secretary of State of Puerto Rico


Succeeded by

Elmer Román
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