Editor’s note: This is the full statement given by Rep. Della Au Beliatti, a former campaign spending commission director, at a press conference today. Her video remarks will also be uploaded to Hawaii Reporter Television.
BY REP. DELLA AU BELATTI – I take great offense to Mr. White and Pacific Resource Partnership Hawaii’s public statements that accuse Bob Watada and I of re-writing history by standing up for the honesty and integrity of mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano.
First, a blatant lie and mistruth being spread by PRP’s commercials is that Governor Cayetano somehow “kept” the money his campaign committee received. This is simply not true as you can tell by the expense report of the bills his committee paid out in running a statewide gubernatorial campaign. Was Governor Cayetano’s committee not supposed to pay The Gas Company for utilities, the Sheraton Waikiki for facilities, or Hungry Lion Coffee Shop for food & beverages?
Second, the quotes attributed to Bob and I to discredit us were taken completely out-of-context and out-of-time from a 2001 Commission meeting that Mr. White was not even present at. This meeting was about the illegal actions of donors who were making excessive contributions. Mr. White has never called Bob or I to ever discuss campaign finance reform and the very serious questions plaguing the state of political campaigns today.
Finally, I stand by my comments that PRP Hawaii and Mr. White’s conduct is entirely hypocritical. Their ads assert that Governor Cayetano exploited a “loophole.” Well, they are currently exploiting a huge loophole – no, they are driving a Mack truck through our campaign finance system through a big, gaping hole that has been created by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision – and making a mockery of the ideals of transparency by their spending of over ½ a million dollars to deceive the public and distort the public dialog.
Who are the donors behind PRP Hawaii? Are they receiving contracts, have they received contracts, or do they hope to receive contracts from the rail project? Now that’s pay-to-play if the answer is yes to any of these questions. But you know what—we won’t know any of the answers to these questions until August 1st when PRP, as a noncandidate committee, will have to file reports to disclose their donors. Even then, we may not know entirely who the donors are if the money comes directly from PRP Hawaii’s own coffers and not directly from donors. Again, this situation of non-disclosure is made possible by Citizens United which PRP Hawaii is totally exploiting in this new day and age of super-PACs.
Now what can be done? First, since PRP Hawaii is now the moral arbiter and legal interpreter of what candidate committees should or should not do, they should stop exploiting the loopholes created by Citizens United and immediately disclose their donor lists so that all voters—including absentee voters who can start voting on July 23rd—will be fully informed by who’s paying to play in this year’s election. I challenge them to immediately disclose their donor lists—and not just contributions to their PAC but too their 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
Second, the other mayoral candidates should denounce the misleading tactics being used by PRP Hawaii and not simply parrot back their half-truths as was done by candidate Caldwell in a recent PBS Insights debate.
Finally, PRP Hawaii should pull its misleading attack ads and all the parties interested in this election should return the conversation back towards our aging sewers, the roads that are in disrepair, the quality of our water systems, preservation of our precious agricultural lands, and—yes, the Rail—all issues that I believe the voters of this great city care about.
Della Au Beletti is a state representative and attorney who served on the Campaign Spending Commission before being elected to office.