BY JIM DOOLEY – Hawaii government agencies spent double the amount of money on Washington lobbying expenses as private business did in the first quarter of this year, according to federal records.

The big Washington spenders so far this year — and last year as well — are InfraConsult, Inc., which lobbies for the City and County of Honolulu’s $5.5 billion rapid transit project, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which for years has been seeking Congressional passage of the Native Hawaiian recognition bill.

InfraConsult spent $80,000 of the City’s money on D.C. lobbying from January through March, according to U.S. Senate lobbying disclosure records.

That’s the same amount of money it spent quarterly in 2010 when the expenses totaled $320,000.

OHA has scaled back it’s lobbying this year, spending $60,000 so far.

Since 1999, OHA has spent $3.5 million in its futile effort to secure passage of the Akaka bill, named after its sponsor, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

The total does not include at least $2 million more spent by OHA on maintaining an office in Washington.

The single largest year of OHA lobbying in Washington was 2005, when the government agency spent $660,000.

So far this year, all Hawaii-based interests have spent $307,500 on D.C. lobbying, according to the disclosure files.

Of that total, $185,000 has come from Hawaii state and local government.

Here’s the breakdown of government lobbying:

  • City & County of Honolulu           $80,000
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs            $60,000
  • Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands  $20,000
  • Maui Memorial Medical Center  $15,000
  • County of Maui                                $10,000

Private interests based in Hawaii spent $122,500 in federal lobbying during the first quarter:

  • Hawaii Medical Services Assn.      $22,500
  • James Campbell Co.                         $20,000
  • Green Path Technologies                 $20,000
  • VisionSafe Corp.                                 $15,000
  • Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc.  $15,000
  • Celiana, Inc.                                        $10,000
  • Pacific Marine/Navatek                   $10,000

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Jim Dooley joined the Hawaii Reporter staff as an investigative reporter in October 2010. Before that, he has worked as a print and television reporter in Hawaii since 1973, beginning as a wire service reporter with United Press International. He joined Honolulu Advertiser in 1974, working as general assignment and City Hall reporter until 1978. In 1978, he moved to full-time investigative reporting in for The Advertiser; he joined KITV news in 1996 as investigative reporter. Jim returned to Advertiser 2001, working as investigative reporter and court reporter until 2010. Reach him at Jim@hawaiireporter.com