Minutes for October 13, 2021 Meeting

Posted in Main, Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference
October 13, 2021
10:00 a.m.

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

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

Guest
Sandy Ma (Common Cause), Samantha Watson

Call to Order
Chair Lum called the meeting to order at 10:01 a.m.

Chair Lum went over the procedures for this meeting via Zoom.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 9/8/21
Chair Lum asked for comments or changes to the minutes.  There were none.  Chair Lum called for a motion to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Herbert moved to approve the minutes of the 9/8/21 meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried (5-0).

New Business
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the four (4) 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. 22-04 – 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 Supplemental Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $200 to $66.67 as it is Respondent’s first violation. Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.

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

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 22-05 – In Re the Matter of PAC Charleys Taxi­ – 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 as it is Respondent’s first violation. Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.

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

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 22-06 – In Re the Matter of Committee to Elect Travis Gyldstrand – 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 as it is Respondent’s first violation. Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.

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

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 22-07 – In Re the Matter of Friends of Mela Kealoha-Lindsey – 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 as it is Respondent’s first violation. Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.

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

*Docket No. 22-02 – In Re the Matter of Shaena Hoohuli, Samantha Watson, and Hoohuli Headquarters -Ms. Samantha Watson was present, but Ms. Shaena Hoohuli was not.  Ms. Watson stated that she is trying to get a hold of Ms. Hoohuli.

Chair Lum asked for a motion to take “Docket No. 22-02 Docket No. 22-02 – In Re the Matter of Shaena Hoohuli, Samantha Watson, and Hoohuli Headquarters” out of order of business on the agenda and skip to Old Business to wait for Ms. Hoohuli to join the meeting.

Commissioner Luke moved to take Docket No. 22-02 out of order.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Markley.  Motion carried (5-0).

Old Business
*Further Discussion and Approval of Commission Legislation for the 2022 Legislative Session – General Counsel Kam reported that based on his review of the appropriate and acceptable format of a legislative bill as explained in the Legislative Coordinators Manual, the descriptions on the six (6) Commission bills that were approved by the Commission at the last meeting conforms to the guidelines. Therefore, additional details of information that Commissioner Herbert had suggested to add to the descriptions on the proposed bills will be addressed through testimonies and meetings with the legislators.

Commissioner Herbert asked if what is stated in the manual were existing rules.  General Counsel Kam responded that they are not rules, they are drafting guidelines for proposed legislation.

Commissioner Herbert expressed his concern that by the time testimonies are submitted, legislators have already made their decisions based on the brief descriptions in the proposed bills which do not provide any real explanations as to why the Commission feels strongly about the proposal.  He explained that if more information is brought forth right at the beginning, it may generate more understanding and interest from the legislators.

General Counsel Kam stated that he also meets with the legislators to discuss the Commission’s legislative priorities and that he believes such communication with them matters.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recognized that General Counsel Kam has established good relationships with the committee chairs and their staff while being upfront with them on certain issues to maintain the integrity of the Commission.

Report from the Executive Director
*Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the number of committees that have not filed the past disclosure reports remains the same and that their names remain on the Commission’s website as required by law.  She added that Commission staff continues to work with AG-CRD to obtain full compliance.

*Update on Special Election for Kauai Prosecutor – Associate Director Baldomero reported the following:

  • On 9/16/21, the memorandum about the Special Election was posted on the Commission’s website and distributed via eBlast. This memorandum was addressed to candidates running in the Special Election and all noncandidate committees to provide information about what is required of them, including the applicability of the electioneering communication reporting requirements.  Updated forms and reporting schedule for the Special Election were also posted.
  • On 9/30/21, Justin Kollar’s resignation went into effect.
  • On 10/1/21, the proclamation was issued to announce the vacancy and the Special Election. Rebecca Like was appointed as the acting prosecuting attorney for Kauai.
  • On 10/4/21, nomination paper filing started. Last day to file nomination papers is 10/15/21.
  • Rebecca Like filed her nomination papers on 10/4/21. Shaylene Iseri, a former prosecuting attorney, picked up her nomination papers on 10/8/21, but has not filed them yet.
  • Both candidates are registered with the Commission.
  • All noncandidate committees are required to submit disclosure reports for the Special Election regardless of whether they participate in the election.
  • First disclosure report for the Special Election candidates and all noncandidate committees is the Preliminary Primary Report due on 12/8/21, except for noncandidate committees that notify the Commission of their $1,000 or less status by 12/3/21 who are then only required to file the Final Election Period Report due on 3/28/22.

Discussion ensued about other ways to get this information out to the committees – especially, the reporting deadlines and the electioneering communication reporting requirements.  Commissioner Luke asked if there are other ways to inform committees about the Special Election requirements aside from what is already being done.  Associate Director Baldomero commented that staff could mail them the information, but that the Commission’s budget is tight this fiscal year.  Commissioner Luke commented that they may not open their mail.  Ms. Sandy Ma of Common Cause stated that she retweets the Commission’s twitter posts.  She also mentioned that the Special Election is big news for Kauai.  Associate Director Baldomero thanked Ms. Ma for always retweeting the Commission’s posts.

Chair Lum asked if staff received any inquiries about the Special Election after the memo was posted.  Associate Director Baldomero responded that both candidates running in the election have contacted the staff to inquire about their requirements, but had no comment regarding the noncandidate committees.  No additional ways to get this information out was identified.

Chair Lum asked Ms. Watson if she was able to reach Ms. Hoohuli.  Ms. Watson responded that she was not.  Discussion ensued about whether the Commission should postpone Docket No. 22-02 to the next meeting.  Ultimately, Ms. Watson and the Commissioners agreed to go ahead with the rest of the items on the agenda while they wait for Ms. Hoohuli. 

*Update on 2021 Annual Online Survey – Associate Director Baldomero reported that the last day of the survey was on 10/11/21.  There were 120 responses.  Results will be discussed and published at the 11/10/21 Commission meeting.

*Discussion of the 2022 CSC Meeting Schedule – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao went over the 2022 Commission meeting schedule.  She asked the Commissioners to let the staff know if any changes to the meeting dates are necessary.

*Back to New Business

*Presentation and Discussion of Updated Candidate Filing System – Associate Director Tony Baldomero presented updates and the enhancements to the candidate filing system.  He also recognized the staff and the IT team with ETS for their efforts.

Commissioner Herbert commented that the color contrast of the new system and the size of the font is difficult for him to read.  Associate Director Baldomero stated that he will bring that up to the IT team.

Chair Lum thanked Associate Director Baldomero and the staff for everything that they do for the Commission and the public.

*Discussion of Updated Candidate Committee, Noncandidate Committee, and Public Funding Guidebooks – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao went over the updated sections of the guidebooks which included housekeeping changes, legal updates, an enhanced Audit and Enforcement section, and the electioneering communication requirements for the Special Election and the 2022 Election.

Commissioner Herbert recommended clerical changes with regards to the section on electioneering communications in the guidebooks for candidate and noncandidate committees.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that she will make those changes.

Commissioner Herbert asked whether it was appropriate for the working drafts to the guidebooks be distributed as part of the meeting materials.  Discussion ensued on whether it was appropriate to put working drafts and/or attorney-client privileged documents in the materials provided to the Commissioners and the public for this meeting.  General Counsel Kam stated that working drafts and/or attorney-client privileged documents are not materials that would have to be produced to the public, and thus, it was not advisable to include them in the meeting materials.  There were no further questions.

*Back to Docket No. 22-02

*Docket No. 22-02 – In Re the Matter of Shaena Hoohuli, Samantha Watson, and Hoohuli Headquarters – Ms. Hoohuli was not present.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao asked if Ms. Hoohuli called the Commission office while the meeting was in session.  Administrative Assistant Tumamao responded that she did not call.

Commissioner Luke stated that if there were no extenuating circumstances, he would strongly encourage Respondents to work with staff on a conciliation agreement.  Respondents are eligible for a 2/3rd reduction of the fine which would bring their $200 fine down to $66.67.  Commissioner Luke further explained that if this matter comes back as a complaint in the next meeting, the fine could potentially remain $200 or a conciliation agreement may be discussed at that point which would then require another meeting.

Ms. Watson explained that the Respondents’ position is that they did not know they needed to file the report because this was their first time.  She stated that she has been working with the staff to take care of all the filing requirements and to make sure everything is up to date.  Ms. Watson further stated that she would like to proceed with whatever that needs to be done to get to the $66.67 by the next meeting.

Commissioner Luke explained that if the Respondents want to explore a conciliation agreement, the Commission can vote to postpone the matter so they can work with the staff on the agreement.  The conciliation agreement will be added to the agenda for the next meeting and if it gets approved, the complaint will then be dismissed by motion.  Ms. Watson agreed to work with staff on a conciliation agreement.

Commissioner Luke moved to postpone Docket No. 22-02 to the next meeting for the Respondents to work on a conciliation agreement with staff.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Bonfiglio.  Motion carried (5-0).

Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).  Meeting adjourned at 11:16 a.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 10 a.m. via Zoom