Minutes for June 10, 2020 Meeting

Posted in Main, Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
In-Person Meeting & Zoom Video Conference
June 10, 2020
10:00 a.m.

Commissioners Present
Bryan Luke, Gregory Shoda, Stanley Lum, Maryellen Markley, Ph.D., Neal Herbert

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

Guests Present
Natalie Iwasa, John Carroll, Eric Ryan (via Zoom), Thomas Berg (via Zoom), Sandy Ma (via Zoom), Cheryl Kakazu Park (via Zoom)

Call to Order
Chair Luke called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m.

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

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 5/13/20
Chair Luke asked for comments or changes to the minutes.  There were none.  Chair Luke called for a motion to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Lum moved to approve the minutes of the 5/13/20 meeting.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Shoda.  Motion carried (5-0).

New Business
*Docket No. 20-16 – In Re the Matter of Natalie Iwasa and Friends of Natalie Iwasa
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that this is a complaint filed by the Executive Director for the failure to timely file 15 Statements of Information for Electioneering Communications and the failure to pay the total fine of $7,500.

Respondent Iwasa filed nomination papers to be a 2018 candidate of Honolulu Councilmember, District 4.  Respondent Iwasa is listed on the Organizational Report as the candidate and treasurer of the candidate committee called Friends of Natalie Iwasa.

HRS 11-341 provides that:  “Each person who makes an expenditure for electioneering communications in an aggregate amount of more than $2,000 during any calendar year shall file with the Commission a statement of information within 24 hours of each disclosure date.”

HRS 11-341(d) defines “disclosure date” as “the first date by which a person has made expenditures during the same year of more than $2,000 in the aggregate for electioneering communications, and the date of any subsequent expenditures by that person for electioneering communications.”

HRS 11-341(c) provides that “a person shall be treated as having made an expenditure if the person has executed a contract to make the expenditure.”

On or about 6/27/19, Respondent Iwasa contacted Commission staff concerning campaign advertisements that were electioneering communications (EC) which she failed to file statements of information in the 2018 election.  Commission staff informed her of the fine for failing to report an EC and recommended that she file the EC forms as soon as possible since the fine for filing the form late would not be as high as not filing it at all.  Respondent Iwasa understood but noted that she needed to amend her disclosure reports and wanted clarification on exactly which advertisements constituted ECs.

Associate Director Baldomero worked with Respondent Iwasa on multiple occasions from October 2019 to March 2020 to assist her in addressing this matter as well as reporting other campaign expenditures.

In February 2020, about 8 months after her initial call to the Commission, Respondent Iwasa filed the EC forms.

Respondent Iwasa executed 15 contracts for ECs and did not timely file the Statements within 24 hours of the disclosure date.  These 15 contracts represent the 15 counts set forth in the complaint which run from July to August 2018.

On 2/14/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a letter via first class mail informing them of the non-filing of the 15 Statements and that a fine of $7,500 (or $500 per Statement that Respondents failed to file) would be imposed pursuant to HRS 11-410.  The letter informed Respondents that they could avoid the complaint process by waiving their rights to be heard at a HRS chapter 92 public meeting and a HRS chapter 91 contested case hearing, and voluntarily paying the fine amount by 2/28/20.

On 2/19/20, Respondent Iwasa informed Commission staff that she received the Notice of Fine and was not able to pay the fine amount.  Commission staff informed her that because this was her first EC violation, she was eligible for a 2/3 reduction of the fine to $2,500 through a conciliation agreement.  Respondent Iwasa said that she was not able to pay that amount and believed that the fine was not fair since she did not know about the law until after the primary election and wanted to explain this in-person to the Commission.

On 3/17/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 4/8/20 Commission agenda, but due to the emergency disaster proclamation, this matter was deferred until this meeting.

Based on the 15 contracts which were executed for an EC for which Respondents failed to file Statement of Information as set forth in the complaint, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that pursuant to HRS 11-405(a), the Commission make a preliminary determination that there is probable cause to believe that the Hawaii campaign spending law has been violated by Respondents, assess an administrative fine of $7,500 in Counts I to XV for the violations, order that the fine be paid from the candidate’s personal funds if the candidate committee’s funds are insufficient to pay the fine, or if the Commission so orders that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s personal funds, and order that the fine be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS 11-410(e).

Respondent Iwasa was present and addressed the Commission.  She stated that she ran her campaign on doing what was right.  She said she could have amended her reporting errors and closed the committee by the end of 2018, and she would have been the only one who knew about the unreported ECs.  But, she decided to come forward after a friend told her about having to report them about a month after the election.  She further stated that it is very confusing that you can have post cards that are not considered ECs unless they are mailed by bulk mail.

Chair Luke asked Respondent Iwasa whether she attended a training or called the Commission office regarding the matter.  Respondent Iwasa stated that she did not, but that she ran in the 2014 election.  She added that she received an email from the Commission about ECs and it referenced that they are advertising.  She did not think this applied to her because she thought of advertising as ads in radio, TV, and newspaper magazines.

Respondent Iwasa asked the Commission to understand her position.  She shared that she was trying to maintain a family life and provide for her family while trying to run a campaign.  She also shared that two of her committee members were diagnosed with cancer and had to leave, and that she was under a lot of pressure from other things.  She stated that her campaign only raised less than $17,000.  She did not think anyone would have questioned her about ECs, but she did not want this weighing on her, so she came forward.  She said the reason why it took so long for her to report them was because the system is very difficult to work with and time consuming.

Chair Luke asked again if Respondent Iwasa attended any trainings in the past.  Respondent Iwasa responded that she did in 2014.  Chair Luke stated that there were other candidates who also needed to balance everything else in their lives who were not as sophisticated with the system as well but were responsible in keeping up-to-date on following the laws by attending the trainings and calling the Commission office.  He emphasized that they too have dealt with the same issues.  Chair Luke asked Commission staff how many committees were fined for the same violation.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao responded that in 2018 election, there were 106 EC violations of which 88 resulted in a conciliation agreement for a fine reduction.  There were many other candidates who had the same fact pattern.  She said this was a cause for a lot of work done by committees and Commission staff in the last election.  She further added that Commission staff tried in two legislative sessions to pass a bill as a result of the issues that were brought up in the last election.  She stated that the real problem here is that the public did not have the benefit of Respondent Iwasa’s EC statements for the 2018 election until after the election.

Respondent Iwasa stated that she was not asking for a total waiver and she thinks she should be responsible.  However, she was asking that she be treated the same as other candidates and be given a conciliation agreement.  She explained that because she filed the statement, the fine should be $250 per violation—not $500 per violation.  She stated that there was another candidate who reported multiple Facebook boosts in one report and if she had done the same, she would have had to only submit 3, not 15.  She also stated that if she was allowed to be considered for a conciliation agreement, she would like the total fine to be reduced to $250.  She requested for the Commission to defer the matter to allow her to work with the staff for a conciliation agreement.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the conciliation agreements do not work that way.  According to the Commission’s schedule of fines, first time EC violations allows for a 2/3 reduction of the total fine.  Therefore, in this case, it would be 2/3 reduction from the $7,500.  Furthermore, Respondent Iwasa was informed from the beginning that she is eligible for a conciliation agreement.

In regard to Respondent Iwasa’s mention of another candidate who reported multiple Facebook boosts in one report, Associate Director Baldomero explained that this candidate reported them differently than Respondent Iwasa – the candidate listed 8 Facebook boosts in one statement, while Respondent Iwasa submitted 13 separate statements listing one Facebook boost in each one.  He clarified that while the candidate only submitted one statement, the candidate was fined for each Facebook boost listed in the statement that was in violation—consistent with how Respondent Iwasa was fined.

Discussion ensued about how it was considered non-filing of the statements, and not late filing of the statements.  Chair Luke asked staff to address why this was considered a no-filing violation even though the statements were filed.  Commissioner Herbert also asked if there was a definition of “filing late” and how late is late.  General Counsel Kam responded that there isn’t one, the statute only provides when the statements are due.  However, in this case, the statements were filed well after the election was over.  As such, staff felt that they could not be considered late-filing of the statements because the information were not disclosed to the public in a timely fashion during the election.

Respondent Iwasa argued that there needs to be a deadline for statements to be considered “late”.  She said it was unfair and would send a very bad message to people because the fine is very high.  She further reiterated that had she not come forward with the information, the Commission would have not known about the ECs.  Chair Luke responded that the Commission has referred cases for prosecution in the past involving such conduct.

Vice Chair Shoda stated that reporting ECs is important in maintaining transparency in the election.  The law was passed by the legislature to require these reports to be made during the election.  Therefore, failure to disclose this report during the election period is, in his mind, a failure to report.  Otherwise, there is no need for this law.  However, he has concerns about the fine being so high for inexpensive advertisements such as Facebook boosts and he understands that staff have tried to pass legislation which would avoid this problem.  As such, some consideration should be given to the fact that the Facebook boosts were a large part of the problem in this case.  He recommended the Commission to consider reduction of the fine.

Commissioner Markley stated she appreciated Respondent Iwasa for coming in.  She stated that these issues have come up before and the Commission is working on them.  However, it has been difficult working with the legislature to make the changes.  She said she appreciates good and honest candidates and that the problem is the fines were set up long before the $5 boosts.  She stated that a reduction in the fine should be considered.

Commissioner Herbert moved to reduce the fine from $500 to $250 per count and reduce the total fine amount by 2/3 so the total fine would be $1,250.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Lum.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Chair Luke asked for a Motion to take Docket No. 20-12 out of order of business on the agenda. 

Commissioner Lum moved to take Docket No. 20-12 out of order of business on the agenda.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Docket No. 20-12 – In Re the Matter of Eric Ryan v. John Carroll for Governor
Appearing via Zoom, Complainant Eric Ryan stated that everything is in writing in the documents submitted.  Unlike Ms. Natalie Iwasa, Respondent John Carroll is a lawyer and was running for Governor and now running for Mayor.  Complainant Ryan stated that Respondent Carroll signed things that he originally said he never signed and paid for things which he said he never paid.  He said that this was a deliberate attempt to fool the Commission.

Complainant Ryan stated that the Commission has all the evidence and that everything Respondent Carroll has said has been countered.  He asserted that there is not one question left unanswered.  He explained that he was not an officer of Respondent Carroll’s campaign, nor was he contracted as Respondent Carroll’s accountant, bookkeeper, treasurer, or anything of the sort.  He was his communication consultant. 

Complainant Ryan stated that this was brought to his attention when he saw in Respondent Carroll’s disclosure reports posted on the Commission’s website that he was owed significant amount of money, but when he looked at it again another time, they vanished—new reports have been filed showing that the money he was owed had vanished.  In addition, the campaign was not registered with the Commission for the six months that they were in operation with a lot of activity.  He stated that he provided the Commission with a lot of documentation showing that Respondent Carroll was fully aware of his responsibilities and everything else that was going on from day one because he was writing the checks—checks that were never reported.  Furthermore, the dates reported in the committee’s amended reports were false dates.  In fact, there are dozens of false dates reported in the reports as if to show that the committee never got underway until six months later in December or January.

Complainant Ryan continued that this is a matter of deliberate phony reporting, non-compliance of timely registration with the Commission, and deleting expenditures that were owed.  He added that the initial response by Respondent Carroll to his complaint stated, “you will note on the documents sent to me, these things I had no knowledge of …,” and yet, he proceeded to talk about the checks he signed and everything he was involved in.

Complainant Ryan explained that the last time Respondent Carroll was in front of the Commission and his fines were reduced, he had the Commission believing that he was being honest.  He said he heard about what Respondent Carroll had said to the Commission about him from a Civil Beat reporter.  He was disgusted when he heard about that and decided to write up a whistleblower complaint to the Commission.  He also mentioned that Respondent Carroll did not file reports and closed his bank account.

Complainant Ryan asked the Commission to take serious action against Respondent Carroll.  He reasoned that the last time Respondent Carroll appeared before the Commission, he lied and that all of Respondent Carroll’s responses were full of fabrications and denial.

Respondent Carroll was present and addressed the Commission.  He stated that Complainant Ryan is using the Commission as a collection agency for his claim that he owes him $10,000.  He further stated that he is currently paying a fine because of the things Complainant Ryan did.  When the fine was assessed against him and he had asked Complainant Ryan for documentation showing what was spent and so forth, he did not provide him a single documentation except for the contract which he had signed for $10,000.  However, Complainant Ryan breached that contract in about 15 different ways including expenditures he spent which Respondent Carroll had no idea such as Netflix.

Respondent Carroll also stated that he did not know how much Complainant Ryan had done.  He said Complainant Ryan took money out of Respondent Carroll’s account and he was not aware that the campaign had raised the money as Complainant Ryan claimed.  He further stated that there are 3 arrest warrants against Complainant Ryan, and he even blackmailed his daughter by sending her messages about losing her farm.

Respondent Carroll further stated that Complainant Ryan sent attorneys to sue him, but when they found out about what happened, they refused to move forward with the case.  He asked the Commission to disregard everything that Complainant Ryan had said because he is lying and that he believes Complainant Ryan is doing all this as a revenge against him.  He said he would like Complainant Ryan to pay the fines which he is currently paying because of Complainant Ryan’s doing.

Commissioner Lum thanked the parties for their testimonies.  He asked Complainant Ryan what his bottom-line motivation is for coming forward against Respondent Carroll.  He asked if it is because he wants to be the whistleblower, or he wants to be compensated per his contract. 

Complainant Ryan responded that he believes the Commission is extremely weak and is mostly looking at whether reports are coming in on time.  When he saw what happened with Respondent Carroll, it was huge, and it was quite an endeavor to pull all of this together. He stated that it is not about revenge or bill collecting because the Commission doesn’t deal with that.  He said the Commission decides whether laws have been violated and whether or not they were violated intentionally.  He asserted that the Commission has the evidence showing that they were violated intentionally, and they refute everything Respondent Carroll had said.  Complainant Ryan argued that Respondent Carroll was deeply involved every step of the way.

Complainant Ryan also said the Commission should seek the legislature to expand its investigatory ability, close to a 911 call that leads to an investigator or detective for prosecution as opposed to putting the entire burden on someone like him to do the investigation and provide all the evidence.  He said he wants the Commission to refer the matter to the Attorney General’s office for some serious action.

Commissioner Lum responded that it appears Complainant Ryan has acted as the judge and jury, and has already come to a conclusion as to how the Commission should act.  However, it is not going to happen that way because the Commission will process everything that was presented before coming to a judgment and said he appreciates everything Complainant Ryan had submitted, but there are two sides to every story and that Respondent Carroll’s testimony is as weighty as his.

Complainant Ryan asked the Commission if the commissioners read everything he submitted.  Commissioner Lum responded yes and said they will look at all the evidence before coming to a judgment.

Respondent Carroll stated that he will defer to the judgment of the Commission.

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

Chair Luke asked for a motion to convene in Executive Session pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4) to consult with the Commission’s attorneys on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities regarding In re the Matter of Eric Ryan v. John Carroll for Governor.

Commissioner Markley moved to convene in Executive Session for the aforementioned reason.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Lum.  Motion carried (5-0).

Chair Luke explained how the Executive Session will occur.

Temporarily lost WIFI Connection at 11:30 a.m.

Public Session reconvened at 11:47a.m.

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

Commissioner Lum moved to refer the matter to Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution.  Motion was seconded by Vice Chair Shoda.

Respondent Carroll thanked the Commission and Associate Director Baldomero.  Vice Chair Shoda reiterated the motion to Respondent Carroll and asked to ensure that he had heard the motion.  Respondent Carroll responded in the affirmative and stated that he will cooperate.

Motion carried (5-0).

Commissioner Markley left at 11:50 a.m.

*Chair Luke asked for a Motion to take Docket No. 20-13 out of order of business on the agenda. 

Commissioner Lum moved to take Docket No. 20-13 out of order.  Vice Chair Shoda seconded.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 20-13 – In Re the Matter of Eric Ryan v. Friends of Tom Berg
Appearing via Zoom, Complainant Ryan stated that this matter came to his attention because of emails between the top people of the Republican Party to which Respondent Berg belongs.  This refreshed his memory about Respondent Berg paying him $800 for doing his campaign website back in 2010.  Complainant Ryan stated that this transaction was not reported in Respondent Berg’s reports.

Complainant Ryan said Respondent Berg specified the amount he paid to him to the unemployment examiner when Complainant Ryan filed a claim after being fired from Respondent Berg’s office.  He argued that Respondent Berg clearly stated he had paid Complainant Ryan $800 for his services creating the 2010 campaign website.  Complainant Ryan mentioned that there was an email stating that Respondent Berg had to tell his girlfriend that Complainant Ryan did the site for free because she will get mad otherwise.  He also said there was an arrangement about the amount and a discount was given to Respondent Berg which should have been reported as an in-kind contribution from him to the committee.

Complainant Ryan said this is a straightforward case about a campaign transaction which the Commission and the public had no idea existed because it was not reported.  He asserted that the evidence provided to the Commission shows that this transaction did take place.  He added that despite this complaint being filed, Respondent Berg still has not reported this expenditure and that he came to the Commission as a whistleblower.

Appearing via Zoom, Respondent Berg addressed the Commission.  He stated that Complainant Ryan fabricated his statement about how emails from the Republican Party brought this matter to his attention.  He argued that in order to entertain everything that Complainant Ryan had stated, it would be important to have Complainant Ryan’s bank records, including his PayPal account records for the time period he claims he created a website for him.  He also mentioned that Complainant Ryan claimed the website was taken down by the FBI and other federal agencies.

Respondent Berg stated that Complainant Ryan is a known forger with Chaminade University. He also stated that the whole subject matter of $800 was in reference to something that had to do with HIRA.  Therefore, the $800 through HIRA should show up in HIRA’s bank records.  He further stated that the bank records should exhibit which website he is talking about – Tom Berg for State House or CouncilmanBerg.com.  Respondent Berg stated that Complainant Ryan is still using CouncilmanBerg.com with an email called TeamBerg.  He argued that if he had paid Complainant Ryan cash for this website, Respondent Berg should own that domain and email account.

Respondent Berg further stated that when Complainant Ryan was hired, he told him he did not owe him anything.  He said he would not have hired him if there was anything outstanding and told him that he was going to take care of the domain registration as he can recall from 2010.  He further explained that anything that was paid to him was paid in full.  He said Complainant Ryan told him that he did not have to report domain registration fee because the Commission had passed some kind of administrative rule that websites are no longer required to be reported.

Respondent Berg said it is only fair that we have all relevant evidence including the bank records, PayPal records, and domain registration.  He also said Complainant Ryan even hacked into his bank account and $4,000 was missing.  When he filed a restraining order against him, Complainant Ryan concocted a fake invoice.  He said he wants Complainant Ryan’s computer confiscated to see what is in his cloud.

Respondent Berg concluded that he would like the Commission to dismiss the case and hopes that Complainant Ryan’s vengeance for terminating him can be put to rest.

Complainant Ryan responded that the Commission has all the evidence and that the Commission can confirm with the unemployment office about the $800 which Respondent Berg swore to the state unemployment investigator that he had paid him.  He stated the direct relationship between himself and Respondent Berg is that he contracted him to do a website and paid him $800.  He further stated that Respondent Berg admitted that he paid him for a website and there are records to show that there was a deal to do the website where part of it will be in kind and part cash.  Complainant Ryan said you will not be able to find the $800 in any records, but rather groceries for Costco and Safeway.

Commissioner Lum asked what the exact agency relationship was between Complainant Ryan and Respondent Berg.  Complainant Ryan responded that he was an independent contractor on Respondent Berg’s campaign to design his website.  Respondent Berg asked to see the contract of agreement which states what Complainant Ryan was going to do for his campaign because he did not sign any contract and that Complainant Ryan had told him he did not owe him anything.

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

Chair Luke asked for a motion to convene in Executive Session pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4) to consult with the Commission’s attorneys on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities regarding In re the Matter of Eric Ryan v. Friends of Tom Berg.

Commissioner Herbert moved to go into Executive Session. Vice Chair Shoda seconded.  Motion carried (4-0)

Public Session reconvened at 12:35 p.m.

Chair Luke reiterated the reason for going into Executive Session as it was brought up that some people did not hear the reason:  The Commission convened in Executive Session pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4) to consult with the Commission’s attorneys on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities regarding In re Eric Ryan v. Friends of Tom Berg.

Commissioner Herbert moved to dismiss the complaint as records are not required to be kept after 5 years and there is insufficient evidence.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Lum.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Draft Advisory Opinion No. 20-01 – Covington and Burling, LLP
General Counsel Kam requested that this matter be deferred to the next Commission meeting.  He had questions for the attorney who requested the advisory opinion.  He received his response this morning and has not been able to review it.  He will be able to draft the proposed advisory opinion once he reviews his response.  The requestor was so informed and did not have any objection.

Commissioner Lum moved to defer the matter to the next Commission meeting.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Shoda.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Discussion and Decision Making on the Application of Hawaii Revised Statute Section 11-340 Concerning Administrative Fines for the Late Filing of the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report and 3rd Preliminary Primary Report

General Counsel Kam stated that the legislature created an additional preliminary primary report for candidates.  Currently, HRS Section 11-340 provides that if you are late with the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report, there is a higher minimum fine of $300.  The intent behind this statute was to have the higher minimum fine of $300 for the report closest to the primary election.  The problem with this statute is that with a 3rd Preliminary Primary Report, the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report is now due 30 days before the primary election rather than being 10 days prior.  Therefore, staff is asking for Commission’s approval to refer to these preliminary primary reports as 1st Preliminary Primary Report, 1B Preliminary Primary Report, and the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report.  This way, the higher fine of $300 will remain applicable to 2nd Preliminary Primary Report due 10 days before the primary election.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao added that the Commission staff tried to rectify this issue through a bill.  However, it stalled due to the legislature going into recess due to COVID-19.  Since the deadline for what is currently referred to as the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report is due on July 9th, she felt it best to come to the Commission with this predicament.  Depending on how the Commission rules on this issue, Commission staff will get the word out to all the committees.

Vice Chair Shoda moved to accept the staff’s recommendation.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Lum.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Selection of Campaign Spending Commission Leadership
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that this discussion is necessary as this is Vice Chair Shoda’s last Commission meeting.  Vice Chair Shoda served two terms, ending on 6/30/20.  She also stated that Boards and Commissions informed her that Commissioner Lum will be reappointed for another term and is still in the process of appointing the fifth commissioner who will replace Vice Chair Shoda.

Vice Chair Shoda moved to nominate Bryan Luke to continue as Chair and Stanley Lum as Vice Chair.

Chair Luke stated that he would only remain Chair for another year and emphasized the need for new Commissioners to be appointed timely so that each Commissioner receives a full 4-year term.  He stated that it is important for other Commissioners to get the experience.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao mentioned that being the Chair requires many extra hours and thanked Chair Luke for being responsive, timely, and accessible.

Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

Old Business
*Consideration, Discussion, and/or Update of Commission Legislation and Other Campaign Finance Related Bills/Resolutions for the 2020 Legislative Session

General Counsel Kam stated that he had no updates.  The legislature has not been back in session.

Report from the Executive Director
Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that there are no new updates since the last meeting.

Update on the Status of the Appointment of New Commissioners
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reiterated that Vice Chair Lum will be reappointed to the Commission for another term.  However, Boards & Commissions is still processing paperwork to finalize appointment of a new Commissioner to replace Commissioner Shoda.

Update on Commission Operations
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that Commission staff are developing return to work plans.  She stated that government agencies are looking into opening up on or about July 1, 2020 and are trying to make accommodations.  The Commission office now has acrylic sneeze guards, masks, disposable wipes, and hand sanitizers.  Staff is still teleworking as much as they can and meeting via Zoom.  However, staff will adjust accordingly as things are ramping up as it gets closer to the election.

She reported that on 6/6/20, Commission staff conducted a Zoom webinar for 2 hours which was recorded.  She said staff is polishing it up to be posted on the Commission’s website to allow candidates access to training since travel to the neighbor islands had been restricted.

Associate Director Baldomero gave a brief snapshot of the 2020 election.  He made the following comments:

  • 103 seats up for election
  • 19 seats unopposed
  • 22 open seats
  • 308 candidates running
  • 8 candidates will move directly to the General election
  • 30 candidates who are $1,000 or less
  • 250 candidates required to file the 1B Preliminary Primary Report
  • 48 candidates that needs to register, but have not as of yet
  • 241 Noncandidate Committees
  • 16 Super PACs

EXECUTIVE SESSION
Chair Luke asked for a motion to convene in Executive Session to: (1) Consider and approve Executive Session minutes from the Commission meeting on 5/13/20; and (2) Pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4), to consult with the Commission’s attorneys on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities regarding McGee v. Campaign Spending Commission and Friends of Calvin Say.

Commissioner Shoda moved to convene in Executive Session for the aforementioned reason(s).  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Lum.  Motion carried (4-0).

Public Session reconvened at 12:50 p.m.

Commissioner Shoda moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Lum.  Motion carried (4-0).  Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

Chair Luke asked guests at the Commission’s meeting for feedback.  Ms. Sandy Ma from Common Cause Hawaii stated that she could not hear at the beginning so she suggested that there should be a phone number to call if participants encounter any technical difficulties.  Chair Luke thanked Ms. Ma for her suggestion.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, 2020, at 10 a.m.