Minutes for October 14, 2020 Meeting

Posted in Main, Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference
October 14, 2020
10:00 a.m.

Commissioners Present
Bryan Luke, 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
Holeka Inaba, Selina Blackwell, Robert Hill, Michael Ruggles, Megan Kau, Bertrand Kobayashi, Thane Perish (on behalf of Ganaden for Hawaii), Lily (on behalf of Beau Hawkes), Sandy Ma (Common Cause), Blaze Lovell (Civil Beat)

Call to Order
Chair Luke called the meeting to order at 10:03 a.m.

Chair Luke went over the rules for this video conference meeting.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 9/9/20
Chair Luke asked for comments or changes to the minutes.  There were none.  Chair Luke called for a motion to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Markley moved to approve the minutes of the 9/9/20 meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

New Business
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the twenty (20) Conciliation Agreements on the agenda were a result of investigations 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 Respondents have been informed in a letter from Commission staff of the violation and have 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 amounts stated in each of the proposed agreements.

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-32 – In Re the Matter of U’i Kahue-Cabanting
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $300 to $100.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-33 – In Re the Matter of We the People
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Supplemental Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $200 to $100.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-34 – In Re the Matter of Felicia Cowden Ohana
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $250 to $83.33.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-35 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Rachel L. Harrington
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Supplemental Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $200 to $66.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreements No. 21-36 and No. 21-41 – In Re the Matter of Mike Ruggles’ Friends for Justice  – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that the Commission address proposed conciliation agreements No. 21-36 and No. 21-41 together because they concern the same committee and Mr. Michael Ruggles was present to address them. Commissioners agreed.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that proposed conciliation agreement No. 21-36 concerns the late filing of the Late Contributions Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $166.67.

With respect to proposed conciliation agreement No. 21-41, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that it concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $166.67.

Mr. Ruggles stated that his campaign’s total spending has been under $2,000 and therefore did not understand how his committee could have spent $2,000 on electioneering communications.  He added that $600 to $700 was spent on posters.  He said he could be wrong, but he does not think he violated the electioneering communication rule.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao asked Elections Assistant Vendiola to clarify the electioneering communication expenditures reported for Mr. Ruggle’s committee.  Elections Assistant Vendiola explained that there were 6 expenditures for electioneering communications which brought him over the more than $2,000 threshold: 7/16/20 expenditure in the amount of $43.65 with Facebook; 7/22/20 expenditure in the amount of $514.45 with New West Broadcasting Corp., which is a radio station company; 7/28/20 expenditure in the amount of $28.94 with Facebook; 8/3/20 expenditure with New West Broadcasting Corp. in the amount of $1,246.07; 8/5/20 expenditure in the amount of $63.94 with Facebook; and 8/8/20 expenditure in the amount of $261.53 with Facebook.  Total expenditure of $2,158.58.  The 8/8/20 expenditure for Facebook was what brought him over the more than $2,000 threshold.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this violation has to do with not filing the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications when the more than $2,000 threshold was reached with the 8/8/20 expenditure in the amount of $261.53 with Facebook.  That is why Mr. Ruggles was sent a fine letter notifying him that he should have filed the statement.  Since this was his first violation, he wa s eligible for a 2/3 reduction of the fine through a conciliation agreement which would bring down his $500 fine to $166.67.

Mr. Ruggles stated that while he may be wrong since he has not communicated with his campaign manager or his accountant, but it was his understanding that his total expenditures were below $2,000.  He shared that his accountant got seriously ill and had to go through a surgery. Mr. Ruggles explained that the misunderstanding could have been due to the expenditures he made for posters which possibly could have been purchased from the media group. He said he does not really know.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao asked Mr. Ruggles if he has copies of the invoices or receipts for the expenditures.  Mr. Ruggles responded that he did not have them because his accountant got sick and his campaign manager moved.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that by law, he is supposed to have copies of such receipts and that his campaign probably has them somewhere.  She asked Mr. Ruggles to obtain the necessary paperwork to show that the expenditures were for posters, and not electioneering communications.  Mr. Ruggles responded that he will try.

With respect to Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-36, she explained that it concerns the late filing of the Late Contributions Report.  Mr. Ruggles stated that he humbly disagreed with the violation.  He mentioned that there was a fundraiser bowl which had more than $100 in contributions.  Associate Director Baldomero clarified that it concerned a $1,000 contribution from Barbara Lang received during the Late Contributions Report reporting period.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that Mr. Ruggles gather all the paperwork and contact the Commission staff.

Chair Luke moved to defer Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-41 and No. 21-36 to the next meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-37 – In Re the Matter of Alberta de Jetley Campaign Committee
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $1,000 to $333.33.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-38 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Bert Kobayashi
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $166.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Representative Bertrand Kobayashi was present and stated that this was a matter of confusion and forgetfulness.  He explained that his committee contracted for two district mailings during the primary election but decided later that the second one be cancelled in anticipation that they go out during the general election period instead.  He said they were not sure if this meant that he executed a contract or half of a contract.  He further added that the committee forgot to file the statement.

General Counsel Kam explained that the Commission staff looks at the date that a contract was executed for electioneering communications, not when the ad ran.  Therefore, the statement should have been filed when the contract was executed.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-39 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Holeka Inaba
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $2,000 to $666.67.

Mr. Holeka Inaba was present and stated that he did not know about the requirement to file the statement and that had he known about it, he would have filed the statement.  He said any leniency to the $666.67 agreement would be appreciated.

Chair Luke stated that the $666.67 is a reduction of the fine and that he hopes Mr. Inaba files the statements from now on.  Mr. Inaba responded that he will be sure to do so and thanked the Commissioners and Executive Director Izumi-Nitao for making sure that committees follow the rules.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-40 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Vickie Parker Kam
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $1,000 to $333.33.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Commissioner Markley moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-42 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Bob Fitzgerald
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $2,000 to $666.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-43 – In Re the Matter of Lorraine for Hawaii
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $166.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-44 – In Re the Matter of Harry Kim for Mayor
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $1,000 to $333.33.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-45 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Smiley Burrows
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report and Final Primary Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $250.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-46 – In Re the Matter of Friends for Richard Onishi
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns four failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and one late filing of the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $2,250 to $1,125.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-47 – In Re the Matter of Ganaden for Hawaii
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $2,000 to $666.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Mr. Thane Perish on behalf of Ganaden for Hawaii was present and stated that it was an oversight on their part.  He explained that the committee reviewed its processes and will be sure to file all respective forms by the deadline.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-48 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Megan Kau
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns one failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and seven late filing of the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $2,250 to $750.

Ms. Megan Kau was present and asked the Commission to approve the agreement.

Commissioner Herbert pointed out that the agreement incorrectly lists $583.33 as the reduced fine amount, not $750.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that the correct reduction amount is $750 and that the Conciliation Agreement for Ms. Kau’s signature will be corrected to reflect the proper amount.

Commissioner Herbert asked if Ms. Kau was okay with that.  Ms. Kau responded that she understands and had no objections.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-49 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Aaron Agsalda
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $1,500 to $500.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-50 – In Re the Matter of Hill for House
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the failure to file the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $1,000 to $333.33.

Mr. Robert Hill was present and stated that he did not know about this requirement.  He understands that he should have read everything before running for office and appreciates the fine being lowered.

Mr. Hill asked what the actual spirit behind this rule is.  General Counsel Kam explained that the intent behind the electioneering communication rule is for timely disclosure of ad information rather than having to wait for disclosure reports which are filed later.

Mr. Hill further commented that “election day” as mentioned in this rule is a number in time and that election day for him is today because he voted already.  Lastly, he commended and thanked Election Assistant Vendiola for all her help.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-51 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Keoni Souza
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Statement of Information for Electioneering Communications and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $500 to $166.67.  Chair Luke asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Lum moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-13 – In Re the Matter of Selina Blackwell, Jason C. Wilson, and Selina T. Blackwell
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Selina Blackwell, Jason C. Wilson, and Selina T. Blackwell for the late filing of the Supplemental Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Blackwell is listed as the candidate and Respondent Wilson is the treasurer of the candidate committee called Selina T. Blackwell.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(b), Respondents were required to file the Supplemental Report for the period covering 1/1/20 through 6/30/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 7/31/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 8/14/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 8/17/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $200 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 9/16/20 and 9/18/20, Commission staff called Respondents to inquire about the status of the fine, but was unable to leave a voicemail because it was not set up to receive messages.  Commission staff also e-mailed Respondents to respond or make payment of the fine or a complaint would be filed.

On 9/24/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 Commission agenda.

On 10/12/20, Respondent Blackwell called the Commission office and requested a payment plan.

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 $200, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, and order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Respondent Selina Blackwell was present and apologized for not being responsive.  She explained that she did not file the report thoroughly and she has not been able to pay Respondent Jason Wilson enough to help her.

Respondent Blackwell shared that she has been dealing with a lot of anxiety due to all the government orders and everything that has been happening within the state.  She stated that her committee never opened a bank account.  She explained that she remained registered with the Commission because she thought it would be a lot harder for her if she decides to run again in the future had she closed her account.  She further explained that Commission staff advised her in the past that she could close her registration and she wished she had done so.

Respondent Blackwell stated that she is experiencing financial hardships and asked for a reduction of the fine or to allow her more time to pay the fine

Chair Luke asked if payment plan is possible and whether Respondent Blackwell qualifies for a conciliation agreement.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao responded that she does not qualify for a conciliation agreement due to prior late reports and received conciliation agreements in the past.  However, Respondent Blackwell could work with Commission staff to set up a payment plan.  Respondent Blackwell stated that she will contact the Commission staff to take care of the fine.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao emphasized that she hopes Respondent Blackwell will work with Commission staff to move toward termination of her registration after the fine is paid so that she does not need to keep filing disclosure reports.  Chair Luke added that Respondent Blackwell can register with the Commission again if she decides to run for office in the future.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-14 – In Re the Matter of Mark Ing and Friends of Kaniela Ing
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Mark Ing and Friends of Kaniela Ing for the late filing of the Supplemental Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Ing is listed as the candidate and treasurer of the candidate committee called Friends of Kaniela Ing.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(b), Respondents were required to file the Supplemental Report for the period covering 1/1/20 through 6/30/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 7/31/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 8/24/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 8/25/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $200 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 9/22/20, Commission staff called Respondents to inquire about the status of the fine, but his phone was off and did not accept voicemails because his mailbox was full.  Commission staff also emailed Respondents about the fine.

On 9/28/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 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 $200, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, and order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Chair Luke asked if Respondent Ing has responded at all.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao responded that there has been no communication from Respondent Ing.  Chair Luke asked if Respondent Ing is still paying off the fine that he was assessed previously and whether he has been timely in submitting payments for that fine.  Administrative Assistant Tumamao responded that he has been making payments on time to pay for the fine he was assessed previously.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-15 – In Re the Matter of Paul Shiraishi and Friends of Paul Shiraishi
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Paul Shiraishi and Friends of Paul Shiraishi for the late filing of the Final Primary Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Shiraishi is listed as the candidate and treasurer of the candidate committee called Friends of Paul Shiraishi.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(a), Respondents were required to file the Final Primary Report for the period covering 7/25/20 through 8/8/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 8/28/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/31/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 9/1/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 9/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $18.75 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 9/22/20 and 10/6/20, Commission staff called Respondents to inquire about the status of the fine and left messages.  Respondent Shiraishi did not return staff’s calls nor pay the fine.

On 10/7/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 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 $18.75, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, and order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-16 – In Re the Matter of Tiare Lawrence and Tiare Lawrence for Maui
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Tiare Lawrence and Tiare Lawrence for Maui for the late filing of the Supplemental Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Lawrence is listed as the candidate and treasurer of the candidate committee called Tiare Lawrence for Maui.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(b), Respondents were required to file the Supplemental Report for the period covering 1/1/20 through 6/30/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 7/31/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 9/2/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 9/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $200 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 9/24/20 and 10/6/20, Commission staff called Respondents to inquire about the status of the fine and left messages.  Respondent Lawrence did not return staff’s calls nor pay the fine.

On 10/7/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 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 $200, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, and order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-17 – In Re the Matter of Madeline Greene and Friends of Madie Greene
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Madeline Greene and Friends of Madie Greene for the late filing of the Supplemental Report and failing to file an amended Organizational Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Greene is listed as the candidate and Janell Kuamoo as treasurer of the candidate committee called Friends of Madie Greene.  Treasurer Kuamoo informed Commission staff in a letter dated 3/4/20 that she resigned as the treasurer and Respondent Greene was informed by Commission staff in a letter sent via first class mail on 3/6/20 to amend the Organizational Report pursuant to HRS §11-322(b).  Respondents have not amended their Organizational Report.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(b), Respondents were required to file the Supplemental Report for the period covering 1/1/20 through 6/30/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 7/31/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 9/2/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 9/3/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $200 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 9/24/20 and 10/6/20, Commission staff called Respondents to inquire about the status of the fine and because staff was unable to leave a message or the phone was busy, the committee chairperson Ronnette Gonsalves was contacted and messages were left.  Respondents have not paid the fine.

On 10/7/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 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 $200 for the late filing of the Supplemental Report and $50 for the failure to amend the Organizational Report, file an amended Organizational Report, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, and order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) and §11-410 within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Docket No. 21-18 – In Re the Matter of Jaerick Medeiros-Garcia and Jaerick-Lee Keali’i Medeiros-Garcia
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint by the Executive Director had been filed against Jaerick Medeiros-Garcia and Jaerick-Lee Keali’i Medeiros-Garcia for the late filing of the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report and the failure to file the Final Primary Report.

In the Organizational Report filed with the Commission, Respondent Medeiros-Garcia is listed as the candidate and treasurer of the candidate committee called Friends of Jaerick-Lee Keali’i Medeiros-Garcia.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(a), Respondents were required to file the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report for the period covering 7/1/20 through 7/24/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 7/29/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 7/30/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

On 7/31/20, Respondents filed the report.

On 8/5/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail that a fine of $300 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  Respondents did not pay the late report fine.

On 8/14/20, Respondent Medeiros-Garcia requested a conciliation agreement which would reduce the fine assessment from $300 to $100.  Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-18 was prepared and mailed to Respondent Medeiros-Garcia as well as approved by the Commission at a meeting on 9/9/20.

On 9/9/20, Commission staff informed Respondents via first class mail to sign the agreement and remit the reduced fine assessment of $100 by 9/23/20.  Pursuant to the terms of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-18, 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.”

Respondent Medeiros-Garcia did not comply with the terms of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-18 by not paying the reduced assessment of $100 or signing the agreement.

Pursuant to HRS §11-334(a), Respondents were required to file the Final Primary Report for the period covering 7/25/20 through 8/8/20 by 11:59 p.m. Hawaii standard time on 8/28/20.  Respondents did not file this report by the deadline.

On 8/31/20, Commission staff notified Respondents via first class mail of their failure to file this report and that a fine would be imposed.

Respondents did not file the Final Primary Report.

On 10/2/20 and 10/3/20, Commission staff called Respondent Jaerick Medeiros-Garcia and left him a voicemail regarding compliance of Conciliation Agreement No. 21-18 and to file the Final Primary Report.  On 10/5/20, Commission staff communicated with Respondent Medeiros-Garcia via email and a phone meeting was set up for 10/6/20 at 8:00 a.m. to assist him with filing his Final Primary Report.  However, Respondent Medeiros-Garcia did not call for the meeting.  On 10/6/20 and 10/7/20, Commission staff emailed Respondent Medeiros-Garcia in an effort to assist him, but he did not respond.  Further, on 10/7/20, Conciliation Agreement No. 21-18 was sent to Respondent Medeiros-Garcia via eSign so that he could sign the agreement electronically.  Respondent Medeiros-Garcia did not sign the agreement or pay the fine.

On 10/8/20, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and set the matter on the 10/14/20 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 $300 for the late filing of the 2nd Preliminary Primary Report, assess an administrative fine of $500 for the failure to file the Final Primary Report, 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 order that the fine, or any portion, be paid from the candidate’s funds, order that any and all administrative penalties be deposited into the general fund pursuant to HRS §11-340(g) and §11-410 within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order, and order that the Final Primary Report be filed within two (2) weeks of receipt of this order.

Vice Chair Lum 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 Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Consideration, Discussion, and Approval of Commission Legislation for the 2021 Legislative Session
General Counsel Kam reported the following 8 bills have been drafted for the Commission’s consideration for the 2021 Legislative Session:

  • CSC-01 (21), RELATING TO ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS.

This measure was introduced last session (2020 – H.B. 1708/S.B. 2149) (2019 – H.B. 164/S.B. 139) but did not pass.  This measure amends HRS §11-341 by changing “disclosure date” to when the electioneering communication is publicly distributed rather than when the contract for the electioneering communication is executed.  Also, the measure increases the $2,000 expenditure aggregate amount to $5,000 before the filing of statements of information are required and includes advertisements sent by mail at any rate in the definition of electioneering communication by deleting “bulk rate.”  Lastly, the measure deletes “communications that constitute expenditures by the expending organization” from the exceptions to the definition of “electioneering communications” to make it clear that candidate and noncandidate committees are required to file statements of information.

Lily on behalf of Beau Hawkes joined the meeting at 11:13 a.m.

Lily on behalf of Beau Hawkes addressed Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 21-33 – In Re the Matter of We the People, which was discussed and approved earlier.  The fine was reduced from $200 to $100.

Lily stated that the candidate ran couple years ago, and that the committee raised no money.  She requested for the fine to be waived altogether.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that committees are required to file disclosure reports until their registration is terminated with the Commission.  She further explained that the committee was offered a conciliation agreement for a half reduction of the fine because this was their second late report violation.  However, the next time the committee is late in filing a disclosure report, no reduction will be offered.  She encouraged Lily to discuss with the candidate about terminating the committee’s registration with the Commission.  Lily responded that she would do so.

With regard to CSC-01 (21), Commissioner Herbert asked for a reason behind raising the $2,000 expenditure amount to $5,000 and why $5,000.  General Counsel Kam reasoned that increasing the threshold would decrease the hardship for candidates who are not spending a lot of money on electioneering communications.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao also explained that the $5,000 was a compromise for discussion to appreciate the hardship that it causes but continue with the need for transparency and accountability. She further added that the kind of spending being done for electioneering communications is vast and varied because there are so many kinds of ads with differing amounts.

  • CSC-02 (21), RELATING TO VIOLATIONS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW.

This measure was introduced last session (2020 – H.B. 1707/S.B. 2148) (2019 – H.B. 162/S.B. 137) but did not pass.  This measure amends HRS §11-410 by raising the amount of fine that can be assessed against a Super PAC (that has received or spent more than $10,000 in an election period) from $1,000 to $5,000 and to permit the fine to be up to three times the amount of the unlawful contribution or expenditure.  Also, allows the Commission to order that the payment of the fine assessed against a noncandidate committee, or any portion, be paid from the personal funds of an officer of the noncandidate committee.

  • CSC-03 (21), RELATING TO CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS.

This measure was introduced last session (2020 – H.B. 1706/S.B. 2147) (2019 – S.B. 643) but did not pass.  This measure amends HRS §11-364 by requiring nonresident contributions exceeding 30% of the total contributions received by a candidate committee for each election period to escheat to the Hawaii election campaign fund if not returned to the contributor within thirty days.

  • CSC-04 (21), RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS.

This measure was introduced last session (H.B. 1705/S.B. 2146) but did not pass.  This measure amends HRS §11-340(c) to make clear that the increased fine (not to exceed $300 per day) for the late-filing of preliminary reports only applies to the reports due ten days before a primary, general, or special election.  This measure is necessary due to the additional preliminary reports mandated by the Legislature last session.

  • CSC-05 (21), RELATING TO ORDERS OF THE CAMPAIGN SPENDING COMMISSION.

This measure was introduced last session (H.B. 1705/S.B. 2145) but did not pass.  This measure amends HRS §11-410 by (1) amending subsection (b) to provide that a person waives the right to a contested case hearing if the person fails to request a contested case hearing within twenty days of receipt of the Commission’s preliminary determination, and (2) amending subsection (d) to provide that a final order of the Commission may be filed in the First Circuit Court for confirmation as a civil judgment, enforceable and collectible as any other judgment issued in the circuit courts.  These amendments were suggested by the deputies in the Civil Recoveries Division of the Department of the Attorney General who are helping the Commission by enforcing its orders in the First Circuit Court.

  • CSC-06 (21), RELATING TO REPORTS OF CANDIDATE COMMITTEES.

This measure was introduced last session (H.B. 1703/S.B. 2144) but did not pass. This measure amends HRS §11-333(b) by amending paragraph (3) by adding “committee reimbursements to the candidate or other individuals” to the list of expenditures that need to be itemized.  As currently written, only candidate reimbursements need to be itemized.  In many instances, individuals other than the candidate are being reimbursed for campaign costs advanced by those individuals.  Those reimbursements to other individuals should also be itemized.  It further deletes “candidate reimbursements” from the category of expenditures that noncandidate committees must itemize in their reports since noncandidate committees are not allowed to receive or make loans pursuant to HRS §11-335(c}.

  • CSC-07 (21), RELATING TO REPORTS FILED WITH THE CAMPAIGN SPENDING COMMISSION.

This is a housekeeping measure.  Provides that candidates do not need to file preliminary general reports if they are either unsuccessful or are elected to office in the primary election.     Amends subsections (b) and (c) of HRS §11-339 to make them consistent with subsection (a) by aggregating contributions and expenditures in determining whether a committee need only file the final election period report.

  • CSC-08 (21), RELATING TO CAMPAIGN SPENDING COMMISSION STAFF.

This is a housekeeping measure.  Amends HRS §11-311(b) and §11-402(b) to clarify that Commission staff may initiate complaints on behalf of the Campaign Spending Commission.

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

Commissioner Herbert moved to approve the proposed legislation for the 2021 Legislative Session.   Motion seconded by Vice Chair Lum.  Motion carried (4-0).

*Presentation, Discussion, and Approval of the Commission’s Annual Report for FY 2020
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao presented the proposed draft of the Commission’s Annual Report for FY 2020 which discussed Commission activities covering the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 as applied to the Commission’s Strategic Plan.  She commented that upon approval, the annual report will be posted on the Commission’s website.

With regard to eBlast reminders, Commissioner Herbert asked if there are ways to send reminders to candidates without electronic means.  Associate Director Baldomero responded that the Commission used to send reminders by mail, but due to budget restrictions, it was discontinued and are now only sending reminders through eBlasts.

With regard to Commission’s searchable data bases, Chair Luke asked Ms. Sandy Ma of Common Cause and Mr. Blaze Lovell of Civil Beat for any feedback.  Ms. Ma stated that she uses the portal to access campaign spending data on candidates.  She finds it confusing at times because she does not use it every day and is unfamiliar with it.  Mr. Lovell stated that he uses the database quite often and it is easy to access all the reports that he needs.

Commissioner Markley moved to approve the FY 2020 Annual Report. Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (4-0).

Old Business – None

Report from the Executive Director
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported the following:

  • 1st Preliminary General Report was due on 10/1/20:
    • 138 candidate committees were expected to file
    • 218 noncandidate committees were expected to file
    • 131 (95%) candidate committees filed on time
    • 203 (93%) noncandidate committees filed on time
    • 6 (4%) candidate committees failed to file on time
    • 15 (7%) noncandidate committees failed to file on time
    • 1 (1%) candidate committees filed late
    • 0 (0%) noncandidate committees filed late
    • As of today, 1 candidate committee and 4 noncandidate committees still have not filed

With respect to prior reports, there are 1-3 candidate committees and 4 noncandidate committees that have not filed their reports.  A complaint was filed for one and the rest have been referred to the Attorney General – Civil Recoveries Division (“AG-CRD”).

*Update on the Status of the Appointment of New Commissioners
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that she reached out to Ms. Sharon Ibarra with Boards & Commissions on 9/29/20 and on behalf of Chair Luke asked her to attend the meeting.  Chair Luke also reached out to Ms. Ibarra; however, Ms. Ibarra did not attend the meeting.

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 9/9/20; (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; and (3) Pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(2), review and consideration of Commission staff performance and compensation.

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

Public Session reconvened at 12:30 p.m.

Commissioner Herbert moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Markley.  Motion carried (4-0).  Meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 10 a.m.