Minutes for July 29, 2021 Meeting

Posted in Main, Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference & Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building
Conference Room 204
235 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813
July 29, 2021
10:00 a.m.

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

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

Guests (via Zoom)
Sandy Ma (Common Cause), Karl Dicks

Call to Order
Chair Luke called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.

Chair Luke went over the procedures for this video conference and in-person hybrid meeting.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 6/23/21
Chair Luke asked for comments or changes to the minutes.  There were none.  Chair Luke called for a motion to approve the minutes.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the minutes of the 6/23/21 meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).

New Business
*Docket No. 21-55 – In Re the Matter of Christy Gusman, Cherrylani Refareal, and Christy Kajiwara-Gusman – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Christy Gusman, Cherrylani Refareal, and Christy Kajiwara-Gusman for the failure to file eleven (11) Statements of Information for Electioneering Communications (“Statements”).

She reported that in the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Gusman is listed as the candidate and Respondent Refareal is the treasurer of the candidate committee called Christy Kajiwara-Gusman.

Respondents executed eleven (11) contracts for electioneering communications and did not file the Statements within 24-hours of the disclosure date pursuant to HRS §11-341.

On 1/6/21, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file the Statements and that a fine of $6,000 would be imposed pursuant to HRS §11-410. This letter was subsequently amended on 1/26/21 to correct the fine amount to $5,500.

Upon receiving notice from the Commission, Respondents filed the Statements on 2/3/21.  On this day, Respondent Gusman requested a Conciliation Agreement which would reduce the fine assessment from $5,500 to $1,833.33 because this was Respondents’ first violation.  Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110 was prepared and mailed to Respondents as well as approved by the Commission at a meeting on 3/10/21.

On 3/10/21, Commission staff informed Respondents via first-class mail to sign the agreement and remit the reduced fine assessment of $1,833.33 by 3/24/21. Pursuant to the terms of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110, Respondents were informed that “[i]f this assessment is not paid by the deadline, the Commission will consider Respondent to be in breach of this Agreement and will then assess Respondent the original amount of the fine pursuant to appropriate proceedings.”

On 4/8/21, Respondent Gusman signed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110 and requested a payment plan to pay for the reduced fine assessment of $1,833.33. She agreed to four monthly installments (i.e., $400 due immediately; $400 due on 5/15/21; $400 due on 6/15/21; and $633.33 due on 7/15/21) and submitted payment for the first installment of $400.

Respondents did not submit the $400 payment that was due on 5/15/21.

On 5/20/21, Commission staff phoned Respondent Gusman to follow up on the fine payment. Respondent Gusman stated that she forgot about it and that she will submit the payment that day. She did not submit the $400 payment. On 5/26/21, Commission staff phoned Respondent Gusman again and left a voicemail to follow up on the $400 payment. She did not submit the payment or return the staff’s call. On 5/28/21, Commission staff phoned Respondent Gusman again and left a voicemail informing her that if she does not submit the $400 payment that was due on 5/15/21, she will be found to be in default of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110 and the reduced fine amount of $1,833.33 would revert back to the original amount of $5,500 and a Complaint would be filed.

Respondents did not comply with the terms of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110 by not paying the reduced assessment of $1,833.33.

On 6/21/21, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the July 2021 Commission agenda.

On 7/28/21, Respondent Gusman submitted $1,433.33 to pay the remaining balance that was due for the conciliation agreement fine and emailed the Commission a letter to explain that she was in the hospital.

Commissioner Bonfiglio asked when Respondent Gusman ran for office.  Associate Director Baldomero responded that she ran in 2014 and 2020 elections.

Chair Luke moved to dismiss the complaint since Respondent Gusman fulfilled her obligations under Conciliation Agreement No. 21-110.  Commissioner Markley seconded.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Selection of Campaign Spending Commission Leadership – Chair Luke explained that the Commission will vote to select its new Chair and Vice Chair.  He stated that the transition will take place at the next Commission meeting.

Chair Luke moved to nominate Vice Chair Lum as the next Commission Chair and Commissioner Markley as the Vice Chair.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.

Chair Luke thanked the Commissioners for allowing him to act as Chair for the past few years.

Motion carried (5-0).

Chair Luke stated that Commissioner Markley was reappointed by the Governor for another 4-year term and congratulated her.

Old Business
*Consideration, Discussion, and/or Update of Commission Legislation and Other Campaign Finance Related Bills/Resolutions for the 2021 Legislative Session – General Counsel Kam reported that SB 400, 402, 405, and 200 have been approved and enacted.  As for SB 404, he reported that it was vetoed by the Governor, but subsequently overridden by the Legislature in a special session and enacted as Act 3.

Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.  There were none.

Report from the Executive Director
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the next disclosure report is the Supplemental Report due on 8/2/21 which will cover reporting period of January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021:

  • 395 candidate committees are expected to file
  • 250 noncandidate committees are expected to file
  • Total: 645 committees

Associate Director Baldomero reported that as of today, 279 out of 645 committees have filed the report and 4 eBlasts (sent on 7/19/21, 7/23/21, 7/26/21, and 7/28/21) noticing the report deadline were emailed to the committees.  He plans to send two additional eBlasts before the filing deadline.  The July CSC newsletter also reminded committees about the Supplemental Report.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao also reported that there are currently 17 committees that have been referred to AG-CRD for collection proceedings.  Commissioner Bonfiglio suggested media involvement in getting public attention to this matter to encourage people to follow the rules.  Discussion ensued.  General Counsel Kam stated that the names of committees that have failed to file reports are publicly posted on the Commission’s website as required by law.  If the media is interested, they can retrieve the information from the website.

*Report on the July CSC Newsletter – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao went over the newsletter and reported that it was distributed on 7/15/21 to 982 email addresses (396 candidate committees, 250 noncandidate committees, and 336 members of the public who signed up for the email subscription).

*Update on CSC Staff Meeting with Commissioner Neal Herbert – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that on 7/19/21, Commission staff met with Commissioner Herbert via Zoom to discuss consideration of:

  • Amending information provided by the Commission on electioneering communications on its website, guidebooks, and forms in light of Act 3 as well as potential legislation adjusting the time for filing statements of information and the threshold amount.
  • Amending the CSC website and guidebooks to include a concise explanation of the fine process, which is provided in notices of late report and fine letters sent to committees, as well as consideration of an amendment to the fine guidelines to provide a time frame as to when a late report would be deemed to be unfiled.
  • At the end of the discussion, it was agreed that staff would consider the items raised by Commissioner Herbert and that discussions about potential legislative proposals for 2022 would take place at a future Commission meeting. Commissioner Herbert was asked to call staff whenever he has any comments or suggestions about Commission operations.

Commissioner Herbert stated that he had no further comments to add and expressed his appreciation for the staff’s cooperation. 

The Commission’s new Elections Assistant, Janelle Tanna, was introduced and welcomed.

Vice Chair Lum expressed his gratitude for Chair Luke’s extended and proficient service to the public and the Commission for the past few years as the Commission’s Chair.  Commissioner Herbert and Commissioner Markley echoed Vice Chair Lum’s sentiments.  Mr. Karl Dicks also thanked Chair Luke for his service.

Commissioner Markley moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).  Meeting adjourned at 10:42 a.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 10 a.m.