Democrats Fake Reform, Approve Toothless Campaign Spending Law

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“Cynthia Henry Thielen Image”

House Democrats challenged the wisdom of Hawaii’s non-partisan Campaign Spending Commission yesterday, and ignored Republican efforts to close loopholes in a campaign reform bill that will allow the same corrupt practices the bill seeks to stop.


Republicans offered their amendment hoping to replace fake reform with real reform. However, Democrat Representative Blake Oshiro refused to consider the amendment written by the Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Bob Watada.

“I am not his puppet,” Oshiro said. “I am not going to be just running down here and doing what he wants because he is not a legislator.”

I responded by affirming my faith in Mr. Watada’s knowledge and skill as a campaign reformer before outlining my concerns about the “sham reform bill.”

I would match Dr. Watada’s knowledge of campaign spending laws against Rep. Oshiro’s any day and I think that Mr. Watada’s knowledge is far superior and far more adept.

Yesterday’s floor session marked the second time Democrats ignored Republican efforts to improve Senate Bill 459 House Draft 1.

The amendments as written by Mr. Watada close several important loopholes in the bill.

One such loophole allows government contractors to continue contributing to campaigns although the stated intent of the bill is to ban such contributions.

Democrats voted down the amendments and passed the measure on third reading.

The bill now goes to conference committee where the House and Senate reconcile differences between their versions of the bill. Mr. Watada has been lauded as “the definition of persistence” in a time when politicians’ wrong doings are forgotten all too quickly by the public and in the media.

Republicans and the public have seen firsthand Mr. Watada’s many years of dedication to honest campaign reform in Hawaii.

The Republicans in the House would be hesitant to challenge his judgment about what needs to be done to break the cycle of corruption in Hawaii’s politics.

”’Rep. Cynthia Thielen is a Republican representing the Kailua district.”’