Minutes for April 20, 2016 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
April 20, 2016
10:00 a.m.

Commissioners Present
Gregory Shoda, Adrienne Yoshihara, Eldon Ching, Bryan Luke, Kenneth Goodenow

Staff Present
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Sandrina Lee, Jessica Richey
Deputy Attorney General Valri Kunimoto

Call to Order
Chair Shoda called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of 3/9/16
Chair Shoda asked for comments, corrections, and discussion.  There were none. Chair Shoda then called for a vote to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Goodenow moved to approve the minutes of 3/9/16.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Yoshihara.  Motion carried (4-0).  Commissioner Luke abstained because he was not present at the 3/9/16 meeting.

New Business
Docket No. 16-31 – In Re the Matter of Hawaii Independent Party and Michelle Del Rosario
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that a complaint was filed alleging that Respondents were late in filing the Supplemental Report which was due on February 1, 2016 and failed to pay the late filing report fine of $200.

On 2/2/16, Commission staff sent a “Notice of Late Report” informing Respondents that the Supplemental Report had not been filed and the imposition of a fine.

On 2/17/16, Respondents electronically filed the report.  On 2/17/16, Commission staff sent a “Notice of Fine for Late Report” notifying Respondents that a fine of $200 would be assessed for the late filing of the report.  The notice further 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 3/2/16.

Respondents did not pay the late report fine of $200.

On 4/4/16, Commission staff sent Respondents a copy of the complaint and informed them that the matter would be set on the 4/20/16 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 and assess an administrative fine of $200.

Commissioner Luke moved to make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that a violation has been committed and to accept the fine and terms as stated in the complaint (i.e., assess a fine of $200).  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried (5-0).

Vice Chair Yoshihara asked if Brenda Michelle Del Rosario is the same person as Michelle Del Rosario to which Elections Assistant Sandrina Lee responded in the affirmative.

Discussion of Succession Planning of Commissioners
Chair Shoda announced that his term and Commissioner Ching’s term as a Commissioner are set to expire on 6/30/16.  Chair Shoda indicated that he and Commissioner Ching may not be reapplying for another 4-year term.  As such, there was discussion on having Vice Chair Yoshihara assume the chairmanship.  Discussion ensued whereupon it was proposed that Commissioner Luke would chair the Commission if Vice Chair Yoshihara stayed on as Vice Chair.

Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto advised that the vote should be taken at the May meeting so that the agenda would reflect that decision making of the new Chair and Vice Chair would occur.

Chair Shoda and Commissioner Ching agreed to holdover until the Governor appoints new Commissioners.

Old Business
Consideration, Discussion, and Approval of the Proposed Adoption, Amendment, and Repeal of Various Provisions of the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Pertaining to the Commission
General Counsel Kam reported that the Commissioners have approved the proposed administrative rules at their last two meetings, but that he did not feel that the agenda sufficiently described the proposed amendments to comply with Hawaii Revised Statutes §92-7(a) for purposes of notice.  Upon conferring with and obtaining the approval from the Office of Information Practices, General Counsel Kam put this matter on today’s agenda to ask the Commissioners to vote to approve the proposed HAR amendments.

Vice Chair Yoshihara asked if there were any further amendments to which General Counsel Kam replied no.

Commissioner Ching moved to approve the proposed HAR amendments.  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Yoshihara.  Motion carried (5-0).

Consideration, Discussion, and Update of Commission Legislation and/or Other Campaign Finance Related Bills/Resolutions for the 2016 Legislative Session
General Counsel Kam presented Commissioners an updated spreadsheet of the House and Senate bills.  The Commission’s bills did not get a hearing before the House Finance Committee.  Therefore, the only remaining bill is HB 2156, HD 2, SD 2 which originally was a bill to fund our office but now contains the following provisions:

-The Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee incorporated SB 2230 which amends HRS §11-381 to permit candidates to use their campaign funds to donate to private schools.  Previously, this bill had not received a hearing.

-The Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee incorporated a modified HB 2066 which amends HRS §11-381 to permit candidates to use their campaign funds to pay for memberships in civic/community groups or protocol gifts as ordinary and necessary expenses.  Previously, this bill stated that these amounts could not exceed two times the contribution limit for that candidate.

-The Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee added a new section which addresses disposition of campaign funds if the candidate ceases to be a candidate due to death.  In addition to returning funds to contributors, this new section permits the committee to make donations to community/charitable organizations as long as no single organization is able to receive more than the contribution limit for that candidate.

-The Senate Ways & Means Committee restored $495,506 for operating expenses of the Commission from the general funds of the State.  Previously, the House Finance Committee directed that these funds be transferred from the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund to the general fund.

-The Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee eliminated the incorporation of HB 1473 (2015) which permitted candidates to use their campaign funds to contribute to other candidates up to their contribution limits and eliminate the need for tickets to a fundraiser.

General Counsel Kam reported that this bill is expected to go to conference committee because of the disagreements between the House and the Senate versions.

Discussion ensued on the matter of protocol gifts.  No definition of protocol gifts has been offered nor discussed with the legislature.  This bill originated from Representative Mark Nakashima.  Staff commented that it has interpreted protocol gifts to be those gifts given by elected officials to other government officials and foreign dignitaries that are reasonable (e.g., coins with the county/State seal, pins, badges, and paperweights).  General Counsel Kam stated that in our written testimony, staff did not believe that this amendment was necessary upon reviewing the expenditures of campaign funds by elected officials.  Brian Yamane commented that the bill is in conference and that a new legislative bill would be necessary to define protocol gifts.

Lastly, General Counsel Kam reported that the Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, Senator Jill Tokuda, included a $495,506 general fund appropriation for the Commission’s operations in the Supplemental Budget Bill, HB 1700, SD 1.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao expressed her appreciation for Senator Tokuda’s understanding of the Commission’s fiscal situation and her efforts to fund operations with general funds so that the public funding program is not further jeopardized.

Report from Executive Director
Welcome and Introduction of New Administrative Assistant
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that Jessica Richey was hired and started work as the Commission’s Administrative Assistant on 3/21/16.  Jessica Richey was raised in Kailua, Hawaii, and attended Mid-Pacific Institute where she participated in the Math team and the bowling league.  After high school, she continued her passion for math by getting a Bachelor of Science dgree in Mathematics from Portland State University.  Previously, she was a retail manager at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Chair Shoda welcomed Administrative Assistant Jessica Richey to the office.

Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that she and General Counsel Kam met with First Deputy Russell Suzuki and Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto last week about the matters that were referred to the Attorney General’s Office for collections.  First Deputy Russell Suzuki will meet with the collections division and Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto will report on the progress at the next meeting.

Associate Director Baldomero went over the reporting schedules for candidate and noncandidate committees for the upcoming 2016 election.  The reporting schedules for candidate committees will depend on whether a candidate is running in the 2016 election, if they are on the primary ballot only (5 reports), if they are on the primary and general ballot (7 reports), if they are on the general ballot only (3 reports), and if their aggregate contributions and expenditures are $1,000 or less (1 report).  If they are not running in the 2016 election, they will have 2 reports to file.  The reporting schedule for noncandidate committees will depend on whether their aggregate contributions and expenditures are more than $1,000 (7 reports) or $1,000 or less (1 report).  He highlighted those reports where committees will face higher fines as well as identified new reports.

Commissioner Luke asked if mandatory training can be enforced.  Discussion ensued that it would have to be a statutory requirement.  Commission staff commented that they are working with Office of Elections which is the first point of contact for candidates and implementing a checklist that includes Commission deadlines.  Further discussion ensued on whether Commission fines are an effective deterrent to obtain compliance.

Report on the Government Private Cloud Migration
Associate Director Baldomero reported that the migration of the Commission’s eight systems to the Government Private Cloud (“GPC”) was successful and that there were no problems when the electronic filing systems went offline 3/14/16 – 3/16/16.  A letter was sent to Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy thanking him for assisting our IT team of Kyle Muranaka, Jennifer Silva, and Jimmy Thai to successfully migrate our systems.

Report on Training Committees for the 2016 Election
In consideration that the deadline to file nomination papers is 6/7/16 and that requests have been made in the Commission’s annual evaluation that training occur prior to the deadline of filing nomination papers, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the following schedule of classes has been announced (subject to a sufficient number of attendees registering):

-Hilo – 5/17/16 Tuesday @ 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Candidate Committee training)
-Maui – 5/24/16 Tuesday @ 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Candidate Committee training)
-Kauai – 5/27/16 Friday @ 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Candidate Committee training)
-Honolulu – 6/1/16 Wednesday @ 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (Candidate Committee training) and 1 – 2:30 p.m. (Noncandidate Committee training)

The classes will be offered in State Office Buildings and will be free.  E-registration went up on 4/14/16.  Notably, CPAs can earn 2 Professional Continuing Education credits for Candidate Committee training and 1 credit for Noncandidate Committee training.

Update on the 2016 Election
Associate Director Baldomero presented an overview the 2016 election to date and made the following observations:

-There are 104 out of 128 seats in the State of Hawaii up for election in 2016
-As of 4/15/16, there are 73 candidates who have filed nomination papers
-Of the 73 candidates who have filed nomination papers, there are 48 newly registered candidates
-There are 338 registered candidates
-There are 8 open seats (i.e., no elected incumbent)
-No partial public funding has been disbursed; however, there are 49 candidates who filed the affidavit to seek public funding and 13 candidates who filed the statement of intent to seek public funding
-There have been 103 fundraiser notices filed for fundraisers held in 2016
-There have been 57 fundraisers held by legislators during the 2016 Legislative Session
-There are 235 registered noncandidate committees
-There are 7 qualified political parties and he noted that the presence of 2 new political parties (i.e., American Shopping Party and Constitution Party of Hawaii)
-There are 16 SuperPACs and no new ones have registered for the 2016 election

Associate Director Baldomero further commented on notable races in the counties/State.

Chair Shoda called for a motion to convene Executive Session to consider and approve Executive Session minutes from the Commission meeting on 3/9/16.  Vice Chair Yoshihara moved to convene Executive Session for the aforementioned reason.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Goodenow.  Motion carried (5-0).

Public session reconvened at 11:11 a.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, 2016.

Chair Shoda moved to adjourn meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 11:12 a.m.