Minutes for May 20, 2015 MeetingPosted in Minutes
Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
May 20, 2015
William Snipes, Eldon Ching, Gregory Shoda, Adrienne Yoshihara
Excused – Tina Gomes
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Ellen Kojima
Deputy Attorney General Valri Kunimoto and Deputy Solicitor General Deirdre Marie-Iha
Call to Order
Meeting convened at 10:04 a.m. with Chair Snipes presiding.
Consideration and Approval of Minutes of April 15, 2015 Meeting
Commissioner Shoda moved to approve the minutes of April 15, 2015.
Amendments proposed by Commissioner Yoshihara –
Page 3 – Docket No. 15-94 – Paragraph 3, last sentence, amended to read: “Fines are related to the amount of activities for a reporting period and, in this case, the payment of an unpaid expenditure for the reporting period is at issue for the purpose of calculating a fine for a late report.”
Page 4 – Paragraph 10, first sentence, amended to read: “Commissioner Yoshihara stated that when there is a conflict between laws, you go with the interpretation that is reasonable and avoids nullifying either law.”
Page 6 – Under “Consideration and Discussion of Commission Legislation” – Paragraph 2, last sentence, amended to address a typo: “The resolution requests that the Campaign Spending Commission do a study and recommendation regarding a $250 cap on campaign contributions and establishing a process of refunding contributions.”
Commissioner Shoda moved to approve the minutes as amended. Motion seconded by Chair Snipes. Motion carried (4-0).
New Business – None
Docket No. 15-95 – In Re the Matter of Rex Saunders and Citizens for Saunders
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint was filed alleging Respondent’s late filing of the Supplemental Report. On 3/11/15, the Commission issued a Preliminary Determination of Probable Cause and assessed a $200 fine.
On 4/21/15, staff received a letter from Respondent seeking non-enforcement of the fine and stating that he will be terminating his committee’s registration. Respondent also filed the next Supplemental Report which covers the period 1/1/15 – 6/30/15 and the report shows no surplus or deficit. His previous report showed a $7,283.87 deficit which apparently was a loan of his own monies to the committee. He has forgiven the loan, would like to terminate his registration, and asked that the $200 fine not be enforced.
Commissioner Shoda stated that he would be inclined to not enforce the fine because Respondent had loaned his committee his money which he forgave and he did not see the point in enforcing the fine if he will be terminating.
Commissioner Yoshihara stated that she is not inclined to change the decision because the duty to disclose has nothing to do with whether a candidate loans his committee money, but has to do with disclosure laws and timely compliance.
Commissioner Yoshihara moved to uphold the Preliminary Determination of Probable Cause issued on 3/11/15. Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching. Motion carried (3-1) with Commissioner Shoda opposing.
Docket No. 15-84 and Docket No. 15-103 – In Re the Matter of Beau Hawkes, Vincent Armijo, and Beau E. Hawkes
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that complaints were filed alleging Respondents’ failure to file the Final Election Period Report (Docket No. 15-84) and Supplemental Report (Docket No. 15-103). On 1/14/15, in Docket No. 15-84, the Commission issued a Preliminary Determination of Probable Cause, assessed a fine of $500, and ordered Respondents to file the Final Election Period Report. On 3/11/15, in Docket No. 15-103, the Commission issued a Preliminary Determination of Probable Cause, assessed a fine of $750, and ordered Respondents to file the Supplemental Report.
On 5/12/15, staff received a letter from Respondent Hawkes requesting reconsideration of the Commission’s orders. Respondent Hawkes stated that he thought he did not need to report because he did not raise or spend any monies. He further stated that he is homeless, indigent, and unable to pay the assessed fines. His treasurer has moved off island and he has not been able to contact him, and he only spent $50 of his own money for the filing fee. On 5/1/15, with staff’s assistance, Respondent Hawkes filed the 2 outstanding reports and updated the committee’s Organizational Report.
Chair Snipes moved to dismiss Docket Nos. 15-84 and 15-103, pending termination of the committee’s registration. Motion seconded by Commissioner Shoda. Motion carried (4-0).
Docket No. 15-53 – In Re the Matter of Nancy E. McGee vs. Calvin Say, et al.
General Counsel Kam presented Commissioners a draft Final Determination of No Violation and Order of Dismissal for their review and consideration. He reported that a complaint in this matter was dismissed at the 2/11/15 Commission meeting, and that the dismissal is being appealed in the circuit court. The Attorney General’s office asked staff to draft a Final Determination with Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto stated that counsel for Complainant McGee filed a broad based appeal on the dismissal. To make clear the issues, as in a contested case hearing, she asked staff to draft a Final Determination for the Commissioners’ consideration and approval that could then be made a part of the record on appeal for the court’s consideration.
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao clarified that this was not a contested case matter, and that the dismissal was decided in a Sunshine meeting. On advice from the Attorney General’s office, staff drafted the Final Determination with Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order so that the appellate court may consider what the Commission did at a Chapter 92 Sunshine meeting.
Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto stated that the law allows for a contested case hearing if a preliminary determination of probable cause is made, but that there is no way for someone to ask the Commission to make a final determination on a dismissal.
Chair Snipes commented that this appears to be more of a housekeeping matter for which the appeal may be framed on narrow grounds.
Chair Snipes moved to approve the final determination of no violation and dismissal of Docket No. 15-53. Motion seconded by Commissioner Shoda. Motion carried (4-0).
Consideration and Discussion of Commission Legislation and/or Other Campaign Finance Related Bills/Resolutions for the 2015 Legislative Session
General Counsel Kam reported that the 2015 Legislation handout has been updated and three bills have been transmitted to the Governor.
SB 508 (SD 1, HD 2, CD 1) – Amends HRS §11-336 to require an additional report for noncandidate committees;
SB 654 (SD 1, HD 2, CD1) – Amends HRS §11-353 to reduce the calabash threshold from $500 to $100; and
HB 1491 (HD 2, SD 1, CD1) – Amends HRS §11-323 to require additional reporting by Super PACs receiving contributions of more than $10,000.
A report on each bill has been sent to the Governor in anticipation of meeting with his staff on the bills.
Report from Executive Director
Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that there are 26 committees that are noncompliant with Commission orders. Staff is waiting to hear from the Attorney General’s office on how to proceed with the process.
Continued Discussion on Succession Planning of Commissioners
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that this discussion was continued from the 4/15/15 meeting. She indicated that Chair Snipes’ and Vice Chair Gomes’ terms will be ending on June 30, 2015, and that Chair Snipes will not be seeking to serve another 4-year term. The Governor has a list of 12 possible applicants.
Chair Snipes informed Commissioners and staff that Vice Chair Gomes has indicated that because of health issues, she is not interested in serving as the chair. Further, if reappointed, she may decline the reappointment. She told him however that she would like to remain on the list for future consideration. He also stated that he would consider holding over if it becomes necessary.
Discussion ensued regarding selection of a new chair. Commissioners Ching and Yoshihara indicated that their work schedules would not allow them the time to serve as chair. Commissioner Shoda stated that he wouldn’t be opposed to serving as chair.
Deferred until the June meeting for further discussion.
Reminder to Commissioners to File the 2015 Disclosure of Financial Interest with Hawaii State Ethics Commission
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reminded Commissioners that the 2015 Financial Interest Disclosure Report is due on 6/1/15.
Commissioner Yoshihara moved to convene executive session to consult with attorney pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4). Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching. Motion carried (4-0).
Public session reconvened – 11:27 a.m.
Scheduled for June 17, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
After discussion, July meeting to be scheduled for Wednesday, July 22, 2015.
Commissioner Yoshihara moved to adjourn meeting. Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching. Motion carried (4-0). Meeting adjourned at 11:36 a.m.