HONOLULU – The state campaign spending commission will meet today to review a case brought by Former Gov. Ben Cayetano against the Pacific Resource Partnership.
Last month, Commissioners delayed decision making on whether to refer a complaint Cayetano filed against Pacific Resource Partnership to the Honolulu City Prosecutor for further investigation.
The commission staff recommended settling the complaint with a fine, but Cayetano convinced commissioners to reconsider.
Pacific Resource Partnership, an affiliate of the Hawaii Carpenters Union, is the organization that coordinated and sponsored the barrage of media attacks that led to Cayetano’s defeat in the 2012 Honolulu mayoral race.
PRP Hawaii spent nearly $2 million on negative advertising targeting Cayetano, and helping the pro-rail candidate, Kirk Caldwell, win election.
The advertisements alleged Cayetano was corrupt and broke the law while he was governor from 1994 to 2002.
Cayetano sued PRP and won a settlement.
As a result of the lawsuit, Cayetano learned Ho’okea Communications, a company then owned by former journalists Barbara Tanabe and Jim McCoy, was paid more than $102,600 for work on the mayoral campaign.
Andy Winer, an attorney and Democrat strategist who also is U.S. Senator Brian Schatz’s chief of staff, was paid $136,800.
Neither was disclosed in PRP’s campaign spending reports.
Cayetano’s complaint against PRP said the organization violated campaign laws by organizing to defeat his mayoral candidacy before filing organizational reports.
The organization also failed to report related expenditures, and in its reports, omitted payments to major consultants, Cayetano said.
PRP Hawaii’s attorney has denied any wrongdoing on his client’s part.
PRP Hawaii is facing a second complaint filed by the campaign spending commission for failing to disclose $86,000 it spent on fliers in support of three campaigns.
The candidates that benefitted were Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga and Hawaii County Council Candidate Valerie Poindexter.
Unionized carpenters and independent contractors established the PRP PAC, called Forward Progress.
PRP’s attorney maintains PRP did not intentionally withhold the information.
Commissioners also review this case today to determine whether to forward a complaint to the Honolulu City Prosecutor for further review.
Commissioners will revisit the complaint today and determine whether it should be forwarded to the city prosecutor for further investigation.