Minutes for April 20, 2022 MeetingPosted in Minutes
Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference
April 20, 2022
Stanley Lum, Neal Herbert, Vic Bonfiglio
Maryellen Markley, Ph.D., Bryan Luke
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Yayoi Tumamao, Janelle Tanna
Deputy Attorney General Candace Park
David Minkin, Esq., Tim Lee, Jordan K. Inafuku, Esq., Kainoa Kaumeheiwa-Rego (Common Cause), Blaze Lovell (Honolulu Civil Beat), KITV4 Island News
Call to Order
Chair Lum called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.
Chair Lum went over the procedures for this meeting via Zoom and introduced Commission staff and the Commissioners who were present. He also asked the Commissioners if anyone else was with them. All the Commissioners present stated that no one else was with them.
Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 3/23/22
Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to approve the minutes on 3/23/22. Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert. Motion carried (3-0).
New Business – None
*Docket No. 22-12 – In Re the Matter of Timothy Lee – Chair Lum stated that this matter was continued from the last meeting due to a scheduling conflict with Respondent Timothy Lee’s attorney, Mr. David Minkin. He stated that General Counsel Kam will present the complaint and then he will recognize Respondent Lee and his attorneys, Mr. Minkin and Mr. Inafuku, to address the Commission.
General Counsel Kam stated that HRS §11-352 provides that, “No person shall make a contribution to any candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee in any name other than that of the person who owns the money, property, or service.” Under HRS §11-412(b), a violation of §11-352 is a class C felony. He went over the facts of this case as stated in the complaint and detailed each count:
- Count I – Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 3/2/20, Chan Hee Yi made a $1,000 contribution to Amemiya for Mayor. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Chan Hee Yi as reported by Amemiya for Mayor.
- Count II – Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 3/2/20, Michael S. Vachio made a $1,000 contribution to Amemiya for Mayor. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Michael S. Vachio as reported by Amemiya for Mayor.
- Count III – Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 3/2/20, Ka Wai Norman Chan made a $1,000 contribution to Amemiya for Mayor. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Ka Wai Norman Chan as reported by Amemiya for Mayor.
- Count IV – Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 3/2/20, Sydney K. Jung made a $1,000 contribution to Amemiya for Mayor. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Sydney K. Jung as reported by Amemiya for Mayor.
- Count V – Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 4/24/20, Chan Hee Yi made a $1,000 contribution to Friends of Kymberly Pine. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Chan Hee Yi as reported by Friends of Kymberly Pine.
- Count VI-Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 4/24/20, Michael S. Vachio made a $4,000 contribution to Friends of Kymberly Pine. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Michael S. Vachio as reported by Friends of Kymberly Pine.
- Count VII-Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 4/24/20, Ka Wai Norman Chan made a $2,000 contribution to Friends of Kymberly Pine. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Ka Wai Norman Chan as reported by Friends of Kymberly Pine.
- Count VIII-Violation of HRS §11-352 (False Name Contribution) –
On 4/24/20, Sydney K. Jung made a $1,000 contribution to Friends of Kymberly Pine. That contribution was funded by money owned by Respondent Lee and not Sydney K. Jung as reported by Friends of Kymberly Pine.
The Commission has jurisdiction over this complaint pursuant to HRS §§11-314 and 11-401 to 11-412.
Under HRS §11-404, the Commission can either (1) summarily dismiss the complaint, (2) order further investigation, (3) make a preliminary determination of probable cause, or (4) refer the complaint to an appropriate prosecuting authority.
Commission staff recommended that the Commission finds that it believes that Respondent Lee may have recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally committed a violation of law and refer the complaint to the state Attorney General for further investigation and potential prosecution pursuant to HRS §§11-404(4), 11-411, and 11-412(b).
Mr. David Minkin, Esq. addressed the Commission and stated that he submitted documents to the Commissioners yesterday for their review. The documents which were entitled, “Rule 408 Letter to E. Kawatani.7.9.2020,” “Draft Complaint,” and “DRAFT.EEOC Declaration Norm Chan.Final” were provided to the Commissioners yesterday afternoon. He stated that Respondent Lee will not be speaking at this meeting because of the possible referral to the Attorney General’s Office for criminal prosecution.
Mr. Minkin stated that he will be reporting attorney Mr. Andrew Stewart (attorney for Ka Wai Norman Chan) to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for threatening criminal actions against Respondent Lee if civil settlement is not reached. He referred to the information provided by Mr. Stewart in 2020 which has now brought Respondent Lee to a potential criminal referral. He said he is well acquainted with Mr. Stewart, and this is something that he has heard from the community that he has done on multiple occasions.
Mr. Minkin asserted that the chronology of events which was provided by Mr. Stewart as documented in exhibit 14 of the complaint has a number of misstatements and absolute falsehood notwithstanding the paper trail that exists. Mr. Minkin explained that the claim about what was said to Mr. Chan by various people were not true based on his preliminary investigations. He further added that the documented chronology of events was not a declaration nor an affidavit and they were not signed under the penalty of perjury. Mr. Minkin also stated that Mr. Chan’s EEOC complaint against JL Capital was dismissed in summer of 2021, and while he had 90 days to file a lawsuit, he did not. He added that the EEOC complaint included misinformation. Mr. Minkin said the Commission should be concerned with why he did not file a lawsuit, and therefore, asked that the Commission further investigate this matter or not subject it to a referral to the Attorney General’s Office and instead take care of the complaint administratively.
Mr. Minkin stated that Respondent Lee is fully aware of the consequences and now understands that he cannot reimburse people months later for contributions that they made on their own behest. He further stated that Respondent Lee is very sorry for what has taken place.
Chair Lum asked Mr. Minkin if Respondent Lee is saying that the allegations in the complaint have indeed occurred and that the contributions at issue were in fact made and he reimbursed them. Mr. Minkin responded that based upon the paper records, certain employees were reimbursed for certain contributions. He added that there was no “donate and we will take care of you.” For example, Sydney Jung was reimbursed after Respondent Lee found out that she made the contribution because he is like an uncle to her. Mr. Minkin stressed that it was nothing nefarious or done to avoid compliance with the law, and that Respondent Lee fully understands and appreciates the severity of the issue, and this will never happen again.
Commissioner Bonfiglio asked if the documents provided by Mr. Minkin are actionable items or references for future action. Mr. Minkin stated that they are something that the Commission should look into and further investigate. He explained that the Commission should look into the motivation and everything else behind what prompted Mr. Stewart and Mr. Chan to do this. There are assertions being made as to who told him what and those statements were not sworn under penalty of perjury. Therefore, further investigations and administrative resolution rather than a referral for criminal prosecution is warranted.
Chair Lum asked to clarify whether the draft complaints provided by Mr. Minkin were actually filed since they are labeled as “draft.” Mr. Minkin responded that the draft lawsuit was not filed, but the draft EEOC complaint was filed and subsequently dismissed.
Commissioner Herbert stated that the matters raised by Mr. Minkin are separate from the main issue of the docket. He explained that they seem to be a separate matter between Mr. Chan and Respondent Lee. All the other factors being raised in the docket as stated in the complaint and presented by General Counsel Kam are not being refuted except that Respondent Lee did not ask the employees to donate. Commissioner Herbert stated that the Commission should approve the recommendations by staff.
Chair Lum asked if there are any more comments. There were none. He asked for a motion to approve the staff’s recommendation that the Commission finds that it believes that Respondent Lee may have recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally committed a violation of law and refer the complaint to the state Attorney General for further investigation and potential prosecution.
Commissioner Bonfiglio moved to accept the staff’s recommendation and refer the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for further investigation and potential prosecution. Motion seconded by Commissioner Herbert. Motion carried (3-0).
Chair Lum asked if there were any more comments or questions. There were none.
*Consideration, Discussion, and/or Update of Commission Legislation and Other Campaign Finance Related Bills/Resolutions for the 2022 Legislative Session – General Counsel Kam provided an update of the status of the Commission’s 5 bills as well as discussed other campaign finance bills introduced this session. There are now a total of 5 House bills of which 1 has been signed by the Governor as Act 3 (HB 1427) and 2 Senate bills that staff is currently tracking and will provide testimony if they are scheduled for hearing. The Senate agreed yesterday to the House amendments on 1 Senate bill (SB 2043) and the bill should be on its way to the Governor for approval.
With regards to HB 1888, Commissioner Herbert commented on the discussions about the issue of disclosure date for bulk mail—whether it should be when they are mailed or when they are received. He said it should be when they are mailed because we have no control over when they are received. General Counsel Kam stated that Commissioner Herbert’s suggestion is what the legislature decided on in their final draft of the bill.
Chair Lum asked if there were any other questions or comments. There were none.
Report from the Executive Director
*Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported the following:
- 1A Preliminary Primary Report for the reporting period of 1/1/22 to 4/25/22 for candidates who file nomination papers through 4/25/22 is due on 5/2/22. So far, about 41 candidates are required to file this report.
- Final Election Period Report for the period covering 7/1/21 or 2/12/22 through 2/26/22 was due on 3/28/22:
- 2 candidate committees were required to file this report and they both filed on time
- 250 noncandidate committees were required to file this report
- 235 (94%) filed on time
- 15 (6%) failed to file on time
- As of today, all noncandidate committees have filed
With regard to prior reports, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the number of committees that have not filed their reports remains the same. She added that Commission staff continues to work with AG-CRD to obtain full compliance.
*Report on Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the CISC’s Interim Report was submitted to the legislature on 3/31/22 and that the Final Report to the legislature is due on 12/1/22. The CISC conducted its 6th meeting on 4/14/22. Executive Director Izumi-Nitao further reported on the dates and the subject matter of the upcoming CISC meetings:
- 6/1/22 – Ethics and Gifts (led by Robert Harris, State Ethics Commission)
- 6/15/22 – Election Law Modernization (led by Sandy Ma, Common Cause and Janet Mason, League of Women Voters)
- 6/29/22 – Campaign Finance Reform (led by Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Campaign Spending Commission)
- 7/13/22 – Criminal Prosecution and Fraud (led by Florence Nakakuni, Former United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii and Barbara Marumoto, Former State Representative)
- 7/27/22 – Open Government Laws (led by Sandy Ma, Common Cause and Janet Mason, League of Women Voters)
*Report on 2022 Candidate Committee and Noncandidate Committee Training – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that staff is working on finalizing in-person trainings for candidate committees on Hilo (5/17/22), Kauai (5/20/22), and Maui (5/27/22). A hybrid in-person and virtual training will be held on Oahu for candidate committees and noncandidate committees (6/1/22). Registration for the training will be posted as soon as the dates and locations are secured.
Chair Lum asked if there are any objections or reservations about adjourning this meeting. There were none. Meeting adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
Scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 10 a.m.