Memo To 2020 Candidates Who Were Successful In The General ElectionPosted in Main
November 5, 2020
TO: 2020 Candidates Who Were Successful In The General Election
FROM: Kristin E. Izumi-Nitao, Executive Director
Campaign Spending Commission
SUBJECT: Important Information and Reminders
The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission (“Commission”) would like to congratulate you on being elected to serve the people of the State of Hawaii and/or its counties. We know that this is an exciting and busy time as you prepare to take office, but would like to take this opportunity to remind you of some important information.
I. CERTIFICATION OF 2020 ELECTED OFFICIALS
Under Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) §11-156, the chief election officer or county clerk is required to deliver certifications of election to the persons elected only after they have filed all of their reports with the Commission and paid all fines assessed by the Commission. This means that all reports, including but not limited to the Final Election Period Report which is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian standard time on Thursday, December 3, 2020, must be electronically filed. The report will cover the period from October 20, 2020 through November 3, 2020 (unless you informed the Commission that you would not spend or receive more than $1,000 for which your reporting period would then be from January 1, 2020 through November 3, 2020). For partial public funding candidates receiving public funds in the general election, you must also file the Expenditures of Public Funds Report by Thursday, December 3, 2020. Further, all fines that were assessed by the Commission must be paid. It is critical that you know when you will be sworn into office, and if that occurs prior to December 3, 2020, you must file this report prior to the date you will be sworn into office as well as pay all fines. Election officials will not be issuing certificates of election to any candidate until such time as the Commission informs them of compliance with this requirement.
II. USE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS
With the exception of partial public funding candidates who must return any and all unused public funds to the Commission by December 3, 2020, any funds remaining in your campaign account after the November 3rd General Election must be spent by November 3, 2024 unless a new Organizational Report is filed on the Candidate Filing System on or before November 3, 2024. Campaign funds may also be used as provided in HRS §11-381 or returned to contributors until four (4) years from the date of the election for which the campaign funds were received. Funds that are not used or returned to contributors shall escheat to the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund (“HECF”). See, HRS §11-384(c). Notably, for those candidates who are term limited, contributions may be sought only if the committee has no surplus and has unpaid expenditures or loans (see Hawaii Administrative Rules (“HAR”) §3-160-31(b)(2). If this does not apply and you intend to seek contributions to run for elective office, then you must amend your Organizational Report on the CFS to notify the Commission and the public of the office you intend to run for in the next subsequent election within 10 days of receiving contributions or making or incurring expenditures of more than $100 for that office. The contribution limits of the 2022 or 2024 election period will apply to these contributors.
Based upon the foregoing provisions and our administrative rules, you may therefore use your campaign funds to run in the next subsequent election or spend it on any of the following by November 3, 2024:
- Return contributions to contributors (see, HRS §11-384(c)) or pay back loans;
- Donate to any community service, educational, youth, recreational, charitable, scientific, or literary organization up to no more than twice the maximum amount that one person may contribute to your office; however, you will not be able to make this kind of expenditure from the date you file nomination papers for the next election to the date of that general election unless you are declared duly and legally elected to the office prior to the general election or are unsuccessful in the primary or special primary election (see, HRS §11-381(a)(3));
- Donate to any public school or public library up to no more than twice the maximum amount that one person may contribute to your office (see, HRS §11-381(a)(4));
- Award scholarships to full-time students attending an institution of higher education or a vocational education school in a program leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential up to no more than twice the maximum amount that one person may contribute to your office; however, you will not be able to make this kind of expenditure from the date of the nomination paper filing deadline for the next election to the date of that general election unless you are declared duly and legally elected to the office prior to the general election or are unsuccessful in the primary or special primary election (see, HRS §11-381(a)(5));
- Purchase two tickets for each event including a fundraiser held by another candidate or committee (see, HRS §11-381(a)(6));
- Contribute not more than $25,000 in aggregate in any two-year election period to your political party so long as the contributions are not earmarked for another candidate (see, HRS §11-381(a)(7));
- Pay for “ordinary and necessary expenses” incurred in connection with your duties as an office holder such as making reasonable expenditures for a “Mahalo Party” shortly after the general election and newsletters to supporters as well as gifts “for one or more campaign employees or volunteers . . . of not more than an aggregate of $500 for a two-year office, $1,000 for a four-year non-statewide office, or $1,500 for a four-year statewide office” (see, HRS §11-381(a)(8) and HAR §3-160-43);
- Purchase or lease consumer goods, vehicles, equipment, and services that provide a mixed benefit; however, you must reimburse your committee for the personal use of these items unless the personal use is de minimus which is defined as 5% or less of the total use of the item in a calendar month and the expenditure for the personal use of the item did not exceed a fair market value of $100 in any one calendar month (see, HRS §11-381(a)(2) & HAR §3-160-45); and/or
- Escheat funds to the HECF (see, HRS §11-384(c)).
Regardless of how you choose to spend your campaign funds, please be mindful that any expenditure of campaign funds must be reported in the appropriate disclosure report and electronically filed with the Commission.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (808) 586-0285. Thank you for your kokua and commitment to public service.
 We understand that Kauai County Council and Kauai County Prosecutor will be sworn-in on December 1, 2020 which is prior to December 3, 2020. For these candidates who won outright in the Primary Election or in the General Election, the Final Election Period Report is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Hawaiian standard time on Wednesday, November 27, 2020.
 An Organizational Report need not be filed by an elected official who is a candidate for reelection to the same office in successive elections and has not sought election to any other office during the period between elections. See, HRS §11-321(e). Filing a new Organizational Report typically means that you intend to run in the next subsequent election.
 If you decide to return contributions to your contributors, it is your choice as to the order of the return of contributions (e.g., last in, last out; first in, first out; pro rata; etc.).
 For more examples including prohibited expenses for which your committee will be fined, go to www.ags.hawaii.gov/campaign/authorized-expenditures.