Minutes for August 10, 2022 Meeting

Posted in Main, Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference
August 10, 2022
10:00 a.m.

Commissioners Present
Stanley Lum, Maryellen Markley, Ph.D., Bryan Luke, Neal Herbert, Vic Bonfiglio

Staff Present
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Yayoi Tumamao, Janelle Tanna
Deputy Attorney General Candace Park

Guests
Samie Solina, Jeremy Lakin, Robert M. Armstrong, PRP, KITV4 Island News, Ed Nishioka

Call to Order
Chair Lum called the meeting to order at 10:08 a.m.

Chair Lum went over the procedures for this meeting via Zoom and introduced Commission staff and the Commissioners who were present.  He also asked the Commissioners if anyone else was with them.  The Commissioners present stated that no one else was with them.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 7/13/22
Chair Lum called for approval of the 7/13/22 meeting minutes.  Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to approve the minutes on 7/13/22.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried (5-0).

New Business
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the Conciliation Agreement on the agenda was a result of an investigation initiated by Commission staff pursuant to HRS §11-314(7) to determine whether there had been a violation of the Hawaii campaign spending laws.  She stated that the Respondent has been informed in a letter from Commission staff of the violation and has been notified of today’s meeting as well as received a copy of the proposed conciliation agreement.  She recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination of probable cause that a violation had been committed, waive further proceedings, and approve the settlement amount stated in the proposed agreement.

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 23-01 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Toni Difante – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the 1B Preliminary Primary Report and requested that they assess a reduced fine from $350 to $116.67 as it is Respondent’s first violation. Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.  There were none.

Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Docket No. 22-16 – Christian West v. [Vicky] Cayetano and Docket No. 22-17 – Christian West v. Victory Calls 2022 – General Counsel Kam reported that a third-party complaint by Christian West had been filed on 5/31/22 against candidate Vicky Cayetano and Super PAC Victory Calls 2022 alleging coordination in expenditures between the two committees which is prohibited by HRS §11-363.  Although the complaints were filed in accordance with the statutes and rules, complainant Christian West did not produce the documents requested by Commission staff.  As such, in a letter dated 7/29/22, Commission staff informed complainant Christian West that his complaints would be set for this meeting to permit him to present his evidence. If West presented insufficient evidence at the meeting, General Counsel Kam would recommend the Commission to dismiss the complaints without prejudice.

General Counsel Kam stated that since the complaints were published on the agenda in advance of this meeting pursuant to HRS Sunshine laws, circumstances have changed in that complainant Christian West has agreed to provide staff with a copy of the opposition research book referenced in the complaints by Friday.  Thus, Commission staff recommended that the Commission orders that West’s complaints be referred back to staff for further investigation pursuant to HRS §11-404(2).

Commissioner Herbert moved to refer the complaints to the Commission staff for further investigation pursuant to HRS §11-404(2).  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Markley.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Docket No. 23-03 – In Re the Matter of Keleionalani Taylor – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against candidate Keleionalani Taylor for the failure to register with the Commission by filing an Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

HRS §11-321(a) provides that candidate committees shall register with the Commission by filing an Organizational Report.  Respondent Taylor was required to file her Organizational Report with the Commission by 6/17/22 which is 10 days from the date she filed nomination papers for office on 6/7/22.

HRS §11-321(b) and (c) provides that before filing the Organizational Report, candidate committees shall mail or deliver an Electronic Filing Form to the Commission which shall include a written acceptance of appointment by the chairperson and treasurer, and a certification by the candidate and the treasurer of each filed report.  Respondent Taylor failed to complete and submit the Electronic Filing Form.

On 6/17/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Taylor a letter via first class mail informing her that her Organizational Report was due on 6/17/22, that her failure to register by filing an Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report violates campaign finance laws, and of the imposition of an administrative fine if they were not filed.

On 6/28/22 and 7/1/22, Commission staff phoned Respondent Taylor and left voicemails to register with the Commission and that an administrative fine would be assessed if she failed to do so.

Respondent Taylor did not file her Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

On 7/6/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Taylor a letter via first class mail notifying her that a fine of $150 would be assessed against her for her failure to file the Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.  The letter informed Respondent Taylor that she could avoid the complaint process for her failure to file the Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report by waiving her rights to written notice and an opportunity to be heard at a HRS chapter 92 public meeting and a HRS chapter 91 contested case hearing, and voluntarily paying the fine amount, submitting her Electronic Filing Form, and filing her Organizational Report by 7/20/22.

On 7/11/22, Respondent Taylor called the Commission asking about creating a Super PAC as well as why she had to register when she was not accepting any contributions and would be paying for everything herself.  Commission staff informed her that she was required to register.

Respondent Taylor did not voluntarily pay the fine or file her Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

Notably, on 7/14/22, the 1B Preliminary Primary Report was due covering the period of 1/1/22 to 6/30/22.  Respondent Taylor did not file this report.  On 7/15/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Taylor a letter via first class mail notifying her of the late report.  Commission staff is not pursuing this matter because it is uncertain whether Respondent Taylor is a $1,000 or less candidate, and thus, would only need to file the Final Election Period Report.

On 7/21/22, Commission staff emailed Respondent Taylor with instructions on how to submit the Electronic Filing Form, file the Organizational Report, and mentioned that a complaint would be filed for any outstanding matters.  Respondent Taylor has not complied.

On 8/1/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Taylor a copy of the Complaint and set the matter on the 8/10/22 Campaign Spending Commission Agenda.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination, pursuant to HRS §11-405(a), that probable cause exists to believe that a violation of the campaign spending law has been committed, assess an administrative fine of $50 for failing to file the Electronic Filing Form and $100 for failing to file the Organizational Report, order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-410(e) within two (2) weeks of receipt of the order, and order that Respondent Taylor file all reports within two (2) weeks of receipt of the order.

Commissioner Herbert moved to make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that a violation had been committed and to accept the fine and terms stated in the complaint.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Markley.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Docket No. 23-04 – In Re the Matter of Candace Linton – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against candidate Candace Linton for the failure to register with the Commission by filing an Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

HRS §11-321(a) provides that candidate committees shall register with the Commission by filing an Organizational Report.  Respondent Linton was required to file her Organizational Report with the Commission by 6/16/22 which is 10 days from the date she filed nomination papers for office on 6/6/22.

HRS §11-321(b) and (c) provides that before filing the Organizational Report, candidate committees shall mail or deliver an Electronic Filing Form to the Commission which shall include a written acceptance of appointment by the chairperson and treasurer, and a certification by the candidate and the treasurer of each filed report.  Respondent Linton failed to complete and submit the Electronic Filing Form.

On 6/10/22, Respondent Linton attempted to electronically file the Candidate Electronic Filing Form via eSign to sign as the candidate and listed herself as chairperson and treasurer.  Because the Electronic Filing Form requires multiple signatures in order for it to be complete, when the form is submitted via eSign, it must be eSigned separately by each person that is required to sign the form.  Respondent Linton’s Electronic Filing Form was therefore incomplete and could not be processed so Commission staff sent Respondent Linton an email with the link to the One Person (Candidate, Chairperson, Treasurer) Electronic Filing Form.

On 6/17/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Linton a letter via first class mail informing her that her Organizational Report was due on 6/16/22, that her failure to register by filing an Electronic Filing Form and an Organizational Report violates campaign finance laws, and of the imposition of an administrative fine if they were not filed.

On 6/28/22 and 7/1/22, Commission staff phoned Respondent Linton and was unable to leave a voicemail because her voicemail was full.

Respondent Linton has not filed her Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

On 7/6/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Linton a letter via first class mail informing her that a fine of $150 would be assessed against her for her failure to file the Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.  The letter informed Respondent Linton that she could avoid the complaint process for her failure to file the Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report by waiving her rights to written notice and an opportunity to be heard at a HRS chapter 92 public meeting and a HRS chapter 91 contested case hearing, and voluntarily paying the fine amount, submitting her Electronic Filing Form, and filing her Organizational Report by 7/20/22.

Meanwhile, on 7/14/22, the 1B Preliminary Primary Report was due covering the period of 1/1/22 to 6/30/22.  Respondent Linton did not file this report.  On 7/15/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Linton a letter via first class mail notifying her of the late report.  Commission staff is not pursuing this matter because it is uncertain whether Respondent Linton is a $1,000 or less candidate, and thus, would only need to file the Final Election Period Report.

On 7/20/22, Respondent Linton called the Commission office asking staff why she was getting notices and being fined.  Commission staff explained to Respondent Linton that she had filed the Candidate Electronic Filing Form and listed herself as chairperson and treasurer.  Because the Electronic Filing Form requires multiple signatures, it was incomplete.  Respondent Linton requested the information be emailed to her.  Commission staff sent to Respondent Linton an email with instructions on how to submit the Electronic Filing Form, file the Organizational Report, provided the PayPal link for her fine payment, and links to Candidate Committee guidebooks and manuals.

On 7/21/22, Commission staff phoned Respondent Linton and was unable to leave a voicemail because her voicemail was full.

Respondent Linton did not voluntarily pay the fine or file her Electronic Filing Form and the Organizational Report.

On 8/1/22, Commission staff sent Respondent Linton a copy of the Complaint and set the matter on the 8/10/22 Campaign Spending Commission Agenda.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination, pursuant to HRS §11-405(a), that probable cause exists to believe that a violation of the campaign spending law has been committed, assess an administrative fine of $50 for failing to file the Electronic Filing Form and $100 for failing to file the Organizational Report, order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-410(e) within two (2) weeks of receipt of the order, and order that Respondent Linton file all reports within two (2) weeks of receipt of the order.

Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that a violation had been committed and to accept the fine and terms stated in the complaint.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Markley.  Motion carried (5-0).

Chair Lum commended the staff for their efforts to assist candidates Keleionalani Taylor and Candace Linton.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao also stated that because they failed to register with the Commission and have not filed any of their disclosure reports, voters do not know who they are, who their officers are, who is contributing to their campaign, or how they are spending their campaign funds.

*Docket No. 23-05 – In Re the Matter of Maurice Goulding and Voting for Maurice – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against candidate Maurice Goulding and Voting for Maurice for the late filing of the 1A Preliminary Primary Report.  The matter concerns a conciliation agreement which had not been fulfilled and therefore, the original fine amount of $50 was reinstated for the Respondents’ late filing of the 1A Preliminary Primary Report as set forth in this complaint.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that Respondent Goulding has made his $50 fine payment before this meeting, and therefore, recommended that the Commission dismiss the complaint.

Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to dismiss the complaint.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).

Old Business – None

Report from the Executive Director
*Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported the following:

  • Late Contributions Report for candidate committees and Late Contributions/Expenditures Report for noncandidate committees for the period of 7/30/22 to 8/9/22 is due on 8/10/22.
  • 1B Preliminary Primary Report for the reporting period of 1/1/22 (or 4/26/22 for candidates that filed 1A Preliminary Primary Report) to 6/30/22 was due on 7/14/22.
    • 316 candidate committees were expected to file this report.
    • 290 (92%) candidate committees filed on time.
    • 23 (7%) candidate committees did not file.
    • 3 (1%) candidate committees filed late.
    • As of today, 6 candidate committees have not filed yet.
  • Deadline for noncandidate committees to declare their $1,000 or less status was on 7/29/22.
    • 19 noncandidate committees declared their $1,000 or less status.
  • Supplemental Report for the reporting period of 1/1/22 to 6/30/22 was due on 8/1/22.
    • 208 candidates not running in the 2022 election were expected to file this report.
    • 160 (77%) candidate committees filed on time.
    • 48 (23%) candidate committees did not file.
    • As of today, 21 candidate committees have not filed yet.
  • 2nd Preliminary Primary Report for the reporting period of 7/1/22 to 7/29/22 was due on 8/3/22.
    • 315 candidate committees were expected file this report.
    • 289 (92%) candidate committees filed on time.
    • 24 (7%) candidate committees did not file.
    • 2 (1%) candidate committees filed late.
    • As of today, 13 candidate committees have not filed yet.
  • Preliminary Primary Report for the reporting period of 2/27/22 to 7/29/22 was due 8/3/22.
    • 250 noncandidate committees were required to file this report.
    • 231 (92%) noncandidate committees filed on time.
    • 15 (7%) noncandidate committees did not file.
    • 4 (1%) noncandidate committees filed late.
    • As of today, 8 noncandidate committees have not filed yet.

With regard to the committees that have not filed prior reports, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that Commission staff continues to work with AG-CRD to obtain full compliance.

*Report on Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC) – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the CISC held a meeting on Criminal Investigations and Fraud on 7/13/22 and Open Government and Records on 7/27/22.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao, Associate Director Baldomero, and General Counsel Kam shared topics that were discussed at the meetings.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao shared the dates and the subject matter of the upcoming CISC meetings.

Executive Session

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that the meeting agenda reflects an executive session pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes section 92-5(a)(2) to review, discuss, and consider Commission staff performance and compensation in consideration of collective bargaining agreements.  However, upon discussion with Chair Lum, she recommended to discuss the matter in open session.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao informed the Commission that although staff members are exempt excluded employees, they are considered excluded counterparts of BU-3 (Yayoi Tumamao and Janelle Tanna) and BU-13 (Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, and Kristin Izumi-Nitao).  She stated that Governor Ige’s Executive Order #22-01 provided that BU-3 employees receive a lump sum payment of $1,000 on 7/1/21, a 3.72% pay increase on 10/1/22, a 5% pay increase on 7/1/23, and a 5% pay increase on 7/1/24.  Further, it provided that BU-13 employees receive a 2% lump-sum payment on 7/1/21, a 2% pay increase (or be adjusted at the discretion of the appointing authority from funds allocated for this purpose, but shall be no less than 2%) on 7/1/22, a 4% pay increase (or be adjusted at the discretion of the appointing authority from funds allocated for this purpose, but shall be no less than 4%) on 7/1/23, and a 3.59% pay increase (or be adjusted at the discretion of the appointing authority from funds allocated for this purpose, but shall be no less than 3.59%) on 7/1/24.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao further stated that the pay increases covered by this Executive Order are appropriated to the Commission for distribution.  As such, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that when compensation and salaries are adjusted through an Executive Order that they be allotted automatically.  If, however, when pay increases may be adjusted at the discretion of the appointing authority, as in the case of BU-13 pursuant to this order, upon consultation with the Commission chair, the Executive Director will submit a recommendation to the Commission which may include staff evaluations and salary comparisons.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that these pay adjustments were brought to her attention on 7/15/22 and DAGS Personnel wanted a response so that affected employees would have their pay adjusted on the 8/5/22 pay date.  She stated that she spoke with Chair Lum who wanted to bring this matter before the Commission.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that the percentage pay increases set forth in Executive Order #22-01 for BU-13 employees be approved, and if granted, she will so inform DAGS Personnel to retroactively adjust salaries to 7/1/22.  If, however, the Commission would like to increase BU-13 employee salaries, she is concerned that the Commission’s budget for FY 2023 has been set and because salary adjustments beyond that of what was negotiated by the collective bargaining process was not anticipated, the Commission will not have the funds to pay for such increases.  She further noted that past practice has been to tie pay increases to evaluations and salary comparisons for purposes of parity.  She reported that there has been insufficient time for this to occur.

Commissioner Herbert asked if the 2024 adjustments for BU-13 will be discussed at a later time.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao responded that any additional increases for 2024 can be brought back to the Commissioners for their consideration when the 2024 funds are allocated.

Vice Chair Markley moved to approve Executive Director Izumi-Nitao’s recommendation to move ahead with the terms set forth in Executive Order #22-01 for BU-13 employees.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).

Chair Lum asked for a motion to adjourn this meeting.  Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to adjourn.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).  Meeting adjourned at 10:53 a.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Thursday, September 22, 2022, at 10 a.m.