Caldwell Caught with His Hand in ‘Pay to Play’ Cash Register

Dr. Kioni Dudley
article top
Dr. Kioni Dudley

BY DR. KIONI DUDLEY – Kirk Caldwell’s claim to reforming “pay to play” is a farce. Yesterday’s report on campaign donations made to his Honolulu mayoral campaign reveals that he continues to accept great numbers of monetary contributions from government contractors, including Honolulu rail contractors.  His actions make a mockery of his repeated TV ads where he boasts of creating legislation to outlaw campaign contributions from those holding government contracts.

Caldwell’s previous filings with the Campaign Spending Commission list a minimum of 46 contributors with rail contracts.  These range from top executives of Kobayashi/Kiewit Joint Venture which has a contract for $195 million, and InfraConsult which has a Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation contract for $82 million. There are also the people holding  smaller but lavish public relations contracts, such as Gary Omori at $251,000 and Pat Lee who pulls in $348,000.


Is it in any way conceivable that Caldwell doesn’t recognize these companies as “players,” those who receive pay-to-play contracts?

In the same report, executives of R.M. Towill gave him $16,000.  Those from Yogi Kwong Engineers gave him $14,500.  As he took these thousands of dollars from the players, how could he not see that these were “payments to play,” and that he is the central figure in the largest pay to play scheme of this election period?

Yesterday’s report of campaign contributions reveals additional money from rail contractors.  Fifteen separate people from Parsons Brinckerhoff paid him $28,150 to continue playing.  Eight more donations came in from Infra-consult, the company formed by three employees of Parsons Brinckerhoff to oversee the Parsons Brinckerhoff rail project for the city.

Why are there so many contributions from these companies?  To get around the law which limits pay-to-players to $4000 per election.  Caldwell knows all of these details.  He knows the contributors.  Many received their rail contracts or subcontracts from him, while he was Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s managing director and “primary point person” for rail transit.<

Caldwell’s television ads are the height of hypocrisy.  “He voted to bar contractors from making pay-to-play contributions to candidates, and made doing so a felony.”  How can he face himself knowing his ad is convincing people that he is a heroic figure fighting against “pay to play”, while he is raking in the pay from the players?   Shouldn’t he shudder each time it is shown?

Caldwell is not only comfortable with his own lies, he embraces the lies of others.  Like the ads by John White of Pacific Resource Partnership, which flood television and radio at all hours. These ads falsely and viciously attack former Governor Ben Cayetano, Caldwell’s opponent, for “accepting illegal campaign contributions.”

These ads benefit only one person in the world, Kirk Caldwell.The ads are character assassination at its best.  They are a lie – a lie repeated to a million people perhaps a hundred times a day.  What man of honor would not immediately repudiate them?  What man of honor would let them continue, day in and day out, destroying, destroying, and destroying his opponent with falsehoods?

Caldwell has been misrepresenting facts for years. During the Hannemann/Caldwell administration, the purpose of the rail project was changed from solving traffic problems to accommodating the thousands of people who will eventually move into homes to be built on irreplaceable, prime farmland in Kapolei.

Apparently it never occurred to Caldwell to be honest and tell people who are funding the rail with their taxes, that it is not being built for them.

As the project progressed, there was no parking planned to accommodate the hundred thousand Ewa and Ewa Beach residents who will commute up commuters they claimed would travel Fort Weaver Road.  Caldwell neglected to tell the public they were expected to walk to the bus stop, ride the bus to the train, take the train to town, and ride another bus to work, and do the same returning each evening.

Caldwell has repeatedly shown he is comfortable deceiving the public. Is this a quality we can afford in our mayor?

Dr. Kioni Dudley, a Makakilo resident stakes his reputation on the truthfulness of this article.





  1. I don't have a dog in this fight, but as far as I can discern, there is no allegation here that anything illegal has been done …am I missing something? and I beleive the allegations against Cayetano are a little different though I have seen nothing that would substantiate them either … What does this prove? I just don't get it….I think most every politician from most every party in most every election could be said to be doing the same thing as Caldwell here, though to a greater or lesser extent…just don't get it

  2. the real problem is super pacs in campaigns now ,Since the Supreme court made it legal, Superpac can contribute any amount of money, which they do not disclose where it came from, to any candidate, who that same candidate may not even know the superpac, and the ad run by the Superpac are supposed to be unviewed by the candidate. In other words a Super pac writes a negative, lying ad, the candidate that they would seem to support can not view the ad before it is aired or approve or disapprove of it. and if he does, that is against the law, thanks to the Supreme court appointed by Bush. What were we thinking when we made no checks and balances for the Supreme Court. And though our Senators get a salary of 65K, they have $400k per senator to use how they want and not pay taxes on, Per Year. 21M in discretionary funds for the 100 senators THats not including the 350M for the senators personnel. See for yourself.….

  3. Wrong. THe writer is angry that the old man in Kinau Hale lives in Manoa, knowing those that afford & buy the expensive condos in Kakaako are members of new Kahala that the rich have everything nearby, entertainment, resturants, supermarkets, retail luxury @ ala moana.
    No need drive or use the rail while us middle working class must pay for this scam forever.

Comments are closed.