House Democrats Under Fire-Respected Campaign Reformer Shoots Back

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The Executive Director of the Campaign Spending Commission defended himself today against Democrats’ allegations that his evaluation of a Democrat sponsored campaign spending bill is not accurate.


After hearing the Democrats’ charge, Campaign Spending Commission Director Bob Watada reiterated his position that Senate Bill 459 House Draft 1 does not in fact conform to federal law because it contains exceptions not allowed under federal law. “I am willing to sit down and read it word for word with them. Nowhere in the federal regulations does it mention these exceptions,” Mr. Watada says.

In an attempt to defend a campaign spending bill that has been described as an April Fool’s joke and fake campaign reform, House Democrats challenged the state’s most respected campaign reformer.

During Friday’s floor debate, Rep. Blake Oshirio questioned Mr. Watada’s view on SB 459 HD 1.

“He is wrong,” Oshiro told other House members on the floor, insisting the bill conforms to federal regulations. Mr. Watada, for his part, has extensive experience fighting Hawaii’s corrupt “old-boy-network” and has offered outspoken support of the kind legislation that such reform demands.

Democrats, who have benefited from the status quo for decades, disputed Mr. Watada’s negative evaluation of their campaign spending bill after House Republicans offered an amendment they said would allow the bill to fulfill its promise as a true campaign reform bill.

House Republicans offered their amendment to SB 459 not only because it has too many loopholes to stop corruption, but also because the bill unfairly aids Democrat fundraising efforts. Rep. David Pendleton, R-Kailua, says to be more accurate, the bill as is should be called the “Democrat Incumbent Protection Act.”

Mr. Watada, Executive Director of Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission since 1998, 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.

I have seen firsthand Mr. Watada’s many years of dedication to honest campaign reform in Hawaii. I would be hesitant to challenge his judgment about what needs to be done to break the cycle of corruption in Hawaii’s politics.

”’To reach legislators, see:”’ “Representatives at a Glance” and “Senators at a Glance”

”’Rep. Galen Fox is the House Minority Leader in the Hawaii State Legislature and represents the Waikiki district.”’