UPDATE, March 19, 2015: The petition has reached 100,000 signatures, hours before the March 20 deadline.
Ah, the WhiteHouse.gov online petition page.
The move to make democracy more “transparent” has had its share of winners (see Bieber) and losers (see this one). If a specific petition reaches 100,000 signatures in about 30 days, the White House formally responds to it.
Enter the latest White House petition: “To take out Alejandro García-Padilla from the governorship of Puerto Rico: Now!” Started on February 18 by some guy named G. G. of Guaynabo, PR, news of the petition went viral on Facebook this weekend and now the petition has close to 30,000 names as of tonight. (It is now at 60,000 and growing.)
The petition reads:
To ask from Congress and the White House, immediate action, in deposing Governor Alejandro García-Padilla’s from office. His Administration is a threat to the economy and the people of Puerto Rico – even to democracy.
Puerto Rico doesn’t need an electoral process, it need [sic] an impeachment process. The time is ripe for an investigation and action, over what has been done with the people’s money over the last two years. Congress, under Art. IV, Sec. 3 of the U.S. Constitution, has the power to intervene with it: as a territory; a condition reiterated judicially by the U.S. Supreme Court.
We are thinking this all has to do with García Padilla’s tax reform headaches he has been having in an attempt to pay of the island’s massive debt problems.
The AGP petition’s deadline to 100,000 signatures is March 20. If that were to happen, the White House would then have to answer it, although we are pretty sure it would cite the Puerto Rican Constitution, which states the following:
Section 21. The House of Representatives shall have exclusive power to initiate impeachment proceedings and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the total number of members of which it is composed, to bring an indictment. The Senate shall have exclusive power to try and to decide impeachment cases, and in meeting for such purposes the Senators shall act in the name of the people and under oath or affirmation. No judgment of conviction in an impeachment trial shall be pronounced without the concurrence of three-fourths of the total number of members of which the Senate is composed, and the judgment shall be limited to removal from office. The person impeached, however, may be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law. The causes of impeachment shall be treason, bribery, other felonies, and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside at the impeachment trial of the Governor.
The two houses may conduct impeachment proceedings in their regular or special sessions. The presiding officers of the two houses, upon written request of two-thirds of the total number of members of which the House of Representatives is composed, must convene them to deal with such proceedings.
Nonetheless, imagine if the petition got 100,000 signatures. It would force the White House to actually formally address Puerto Rico, a topic that has been ignored for far too long in the United States. That alone should be reason for people who care about Puerto Rico to sign it. It’s not like United States colony (sorry, territory) makes the national news each day or gets a talk show host to visit it, like it Conan did for another Caribbean island.