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Hawaii Politicians Received $2.2 Million in Illegal Campaign Contributions

Photo: Emily Metcalf

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN - Archived in the records at the Hawaii State Campaign Spending Commission are names of political candidates whose campaigns owed the state between $100 and $1.2 million.

The politicians are of some of Hawaii most famous, dating as far back as Frank Fasi, when he was Honolulu mayor for more than two decades until 1994. These politicians accepted illegal donations – either that were made in a “false name” or were over the limit - or excessive contributions.

The donors sometimes used employees to launder money to their favorite candidates, and then reimbursed the employees. They also donated more than the legally allowed limits detailed here.

Collectively, 26 political campaigns owed the Commission nearly $2.2 million.

The candidates were told their campaigns must “escheat” or forfeit the money to the Commission.

But in total, $1.8 million was never turned over to the Commission, including six politicians paid no money from their campaigns.

And there is no way to recoup the outstanding money still owed, according to Gary Kam, the Campaign Spending Commission's attorney. That's because the politicians have closed out these campaigns and have no money left in them.

“We were advised by the attorney general in 2006 that we could not go after the escheats to the state after these candidates close their campaigns, because these are not fines,” Kam said. “Keep in mind, the contributors have already been fined, that is where the penalty comes in."

Hawaii Reporter obtained a list of these politicians – some who are still in office or seeking new political office - and how much they received in illegal contributions and how much they paid to the Commission.

Former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris

Harris was told to escheat $1,061,707, his campaign paid $146,275 and his campaign did not pay $915,432;

Former City Council Member Arnold Morgado

Morgado’s campaign owed $97,934.99, he repaid $684.99, leaving a balance of $97,250;

Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii

Hirono’s gubernatorial campaign owed $164,265 to the Commission, she paid $95,073.58, and still has a balance of $69,191.42;

Former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano

Cayetano’s gubernatorial campaign was told to escheat $540,625, he paid $8,655.68, and the remaining balance was $531,969.32;

Former Gov. Linda Lingle

Lingle's campaign owed $ $23,800 ; she paid $23,550 and has a remaining balance of $250.

Former Mayor Kimo Apana

Apana was told to escheat $129,100, he paid $14,400, and has an outstanding balance of $114,700;

Big Island Democratic mayoral candidate Fred Holschuh

Holschuh paid just $4,000 of the $12,000 his campaign owned, leaving an $8,000 balance/

Those who did not pay back any funds to the Campaign Spending Commission include:

Former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi

Fasi owed $25,300 and did not repay any of it.

Former Gubernatorial Candidate Andy Anderson

Anderson ran for governor in 2002. His campaign was told to forfeit $19,750 in illegal contributions, He did not return any of the money.

Former Big Island Mayor Steven Yamashiro

Yamashiro’s campaign owed $13,000 – and he did not pay.

Former City Council Member Jon Yoshimura

Yoshimura owed $5,000 – and he did not repay the funds.

Senator Ron Kouchi, D-Kauai

Kouchi owed $500 from his county council run and did not pay any of the funds back.

Maui County Council Member Gladys Baisa

Baisa owed $343.96 and she paid none of it back.

Those who paid back all the money they owed include:

  • Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann - $80,225;
  • Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa - $975;
  • Senate Judiciary and Labor Chair Clayton Hee - $1,500;
  • Sen. Roz Baker - $250;
  • Former Rep. and Congressman Ed Case- $2,000;
  • Rep. Jerry Chang, D-Big Island - $1,980;
  • Rep. Pono Chong, D-Kaneohe - $100;
  • House Speaker Calvin Say - $250;
  • Rep. Michael Y. Magaoay -$100;
  • Former Sen. Matt Matsunaga -$5,000;
  • Former Honolulu Council Member John DeSoto - $3,000;
  • Former Council Member and Congressman Charles Djou - $300;
  • Maui Council Vice Chair Joseph Pontanilla -$150.

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=49150

3 Comments for “Hawaii Politicians Received $2.2 Million in Illegal Campaign Contributions”

  1. [...] “We were advised by the attorney general in 2006 that we could not go after the escheats to the state after these candidates close their campaigns, because these are not fines,” Kam said. “Keep in mind, the contributors have already been fined, that is where the penalty comes in.” Hawaii Reporter obtained a list of these politicians – some who are still in office or seeking new political office – and how much they received in illegal contributions and how much they paid to the Commission. Continue reading at Hawaii Reporter. [...]

  2. I met with Gary Kam a couple of weeks ago and asked him several questions about the disposition of these cases. As he has told you, when the campaign committee owing the money is disbanded they have no way to recoup anything beyond the remaining bank balance. Every politician on the list either created a Federal campaign committee (escaping Hawaii jurisdiction), or never ran for office again...except one. I specifically asked Mr. Kam if Ben Cayetano's new state campaign committee makes him liable for the balance of his old fine. His answer was interesting...."I don't know, it never happened before." I think the voters need to get an answer to that question.

  3. [...] – Hawaii Politicians Receive $2.2 Million In Illegal Contributions – via [...]

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