Pro-Rail PAC Spending This Year: $900,000

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BY JIM DOOLEY – The Pacific Resource Partnership poured nearly $900,000 into this year’s Honolulu mayoral race, much of it on negative advertising that targeted anti-rail candidate Ben Cayetano, according to spending figures disclosed today.

Photo: Emily Metcalf

“There will be much more to come,” said Cayetano, a former Hawaii Governor now a candidate for Honolulu Mayor.


“There is a lot at stake for PRP and the members and the people who support them… hundreds of millions in profits are to be made (off of the rail project). They are playing for keeps here,” said Cayetano.

The non-profit PRP, financed by contributions from contractors and developers doing business with the Hawaii Carpenters Union, also reported spending $167,000 on the Big Island mayoral election so far this year.

PRP’s financing comes from the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, a non-profit trust fund that receives contractually-mandated contributions from companies that have signed labor agreements with Local 745 of the Carpenters Union here.

Virtually all of PRP’s Honolulu mayoral spending this year — $770,000 — went to a Mainland political consulting and advertising firm called Market Strategies and Research which has offices in Colorado and Virginia.

Much smaller amounts were spent on video production and polling firms.

The Hamburger Co., of Washington D.C., received $44,500 for video production costs and polling firm Tulchin Research received $63,000, according to PRP’s campaign spending disclosure.

A Connecticut company, Mission Control, was paid $113,500 for a Big Island direct mail campaign, PRP revealed.

PRP’s spending came from a political action committee formed this year called Pacific Resource Partnership PAC. PRP spending report

PRP chief executive John White (PRP photo)

The PRP PAC gave no direct contributions to political candidates. Two separate political committees financed with Carpenters money, The Hawaii Carpenters Political Action Fund and the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, gave some $87,000  in donations to a variety of Isle political campaigns from January through July of this year, according to newly-filed reports.

Carpenters PAC

Market Recovery report

The primary source of all the spending is the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, a non-profit trust that had assets of $17.2 million as of August 31, 2011, according to an IRS tax return filed last year. 2010 tax return

Trustees are appointed by the Carpenters Union, the General Contractors Association and the Building Industry Labor Association.

The purpose of the fund, according to the trust’s tax return, is “to study and explore ways of eliminating potential problems that inhibit the economic development of the carpentry industry in Hawaii.”

As reported earlier this month, PRP and the Carpenters Union together spent some $1.5 million from 2008 to 2010 promoting Honolulu’s proposed 20-mile, $5.2 billion rapid transit project.

“I’ve been told that PRP will spend several million to beat me if the election goes into the general election. It doesn’t look like they’ve gotten much for the money the spent attacking me,” Cayetano said.



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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