The Puerto Rico Department of Justice (DOJ) informed that it released the lobbyist registry on its website, as dictated by Executive Order 2019-031 to establish a “code of total transparency” for all agency heads in the executive branch.
THE WEEKLY JOURNAL reported on Sept. 18 that the lobbyist registry was estimated to be released sometime that week in mid-September after Secretary of Justice Dennise Longo held various meetings to give shape to the executive order, signed last July by then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló.
Sources close to this paper had affirmed that they are interested in registering formally, particularly to tackle issues concerning the Opportunity Zones program, but they have been unable to proceed because they do not know how to access the portal. Per this paper's request, Longo informed that the portal was launched last week and is available to the general public.
Unlike other registries in the DOJ’s official website, www.justicia.pr.gov—such as property and sex offenders—the lobbyist registry is not included in a separate widget. Rather, it is part of an automatic slideshow on the main page, right above the welcome message.
After agreeing, cybernauts are then redirected to the official registry.
The registry is essentially a table that will list lobbyists under their name, number of registration, clients who they represent and authorized staff. When visitors access the page, however, they’ll realize that it doesn’t feature a single lobbyist.
When asked about this issue, Longo responded in a written statement that "the information that is being integrated into the registry is pending completion of the validation processes."
"The technical staff from the [Puerto Rico Innovation and Technology Service (PRITS)] and the Department of Justice are working to publish this content as soon as possible," the secretary added.
Executive Order prohibits lobbying without registration
When users click on the link that allows them to register as lobbyists, they’ll notice that the page features the necessary documents that set forth the guidelines for registration, as well as the circular letter and the sworn oath, both in .PDF format, to register, renew or amend information in the registry. The page also requires login information to access.
As a test, THE WEEKLY JOURNAL created a profile and subsequently received an email that provided a link to activate the account. Alas, the link redirects to a page with the message “This site can’t be read,” both in desktop and mobile devices and with different internet connections. Moreover, when attempting to access the page, despite being unable to activate the account, the screen displays a message that reads “the information submitted is incorrect.” There is the option to renew one’s password, but even after resorting to this measure, the page could not be accessed because the email was not sent.
Regarding the website's updates and tech fixes, the PRITS is expected to upload the required fields and sort out these errors.
Editor's note: This story was published on the October 16 print edition of The Weekly Journal.