Minutes for February 3, 2016 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
February 3, 2016
10:00 a.m.

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

Staff Present
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Sandrina Lee, Ellen Kojima
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 January 13, 2016 Meeting
Chair Shoda asked for discussion or comments.  There were no comments. Commissioner Goodenow stated that he would abstain since he was not in attendance at the January meeting.

Chair Shoda then called for a vote to approve the minutes.

Commissioners voted to approve the minutes (4-0) with Commissioner Goodenow abstaining.

New Business – None

Old Business
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 a spreadsheet of the House and Senate bills.  He summarized the Commission’s bills as follows:

-HB 1552  Passed unamended.  Amends HRS §11-340(c) to increase the fine if a noncandidate committee fails to timely file the 2nd preliminary general report.
-HB 1553  Passed with technical amendments.  Amends HRS §11-334 to clarify due dates of reports for candidate committees.
-HB 1550  Heard and deferred until 2/4/16 for decision making.  Amends HRS §11-410 to increase the fine amounts that may be assessed against persons other than individuals for campaign spending violations.

At the hearing, there was concern that this amendment affects candidate committees.  General Counsel Kam explained to the committee that the target of this bill was Super PACs so there was discussion on further amending the bill to clarify that it would apply only to Super PACs.

-HB 1551  Hearing set for 2/5/16.  Amends HRS §11-363 which addresses republication of campaign materials.
-The senate companion bills to the House bills mentioned above have all been heard and passed; however, SB 2032 (which is the companion bill to HB 1553) clarifies the due dates of reports for candidate committees, has already crossed over to the House.

General Counsel Kam then summarized the other bills concerning campaign spending:

-HB 1784  Amends HRS §11-381 to allow donations to private schools as an acceptable use of campaign funds.  No hearing has been set and this bill was discussed at the Commission’s last meeting on 1/13/16.
-HB 1954  Repeals calabash bowls. Last legislative session, this law was amended to reduce the calabash bowl amount from $500 to $100.  This bill now eliminates calabash bowls.
-HB 2066  Amends HRS §11-381 to allow the use of campaign funds up to two times the candidate’s contribution limit to pay for memberships to civic or community groups or protocol gifts.

General Counsel Kam stated that presently the rules permit the use of campaign funds to pay for memberships if the expense is ordinary and necessary to the candidate’s duties as an office holder, but the proposed rule change would delete the section on membership fees.  After discussion regarding concerns over using campaign funds for memberships to civic or community groups, the consensus of the Commissioners was to take no position and offer comments.

-HB 2138  Amends the Constitution to establish judicial elections and requires the Commission to do a study.

Commissioner Luke asked whether additional funds would be provided for this study. General Counsel Kam responded that the concerns most likely will be whether the Commission has the ability to add this new category of candidates to the filing system.  No additional resources were therefore anticipated at this time.  The Commission decided to take no position.

-HB 2154  Changes the name of the Hawaii election campaign fund to Hawaii citizen’s election fund.  Staff submitted testimony on the companion bill, taking no position but offered comments that the name change may be premature since the trust fund still pays for the operating expenses of the Commission.
-HB 2155  Amends HRS §11-381 to establish an exemption to allow candidates elected early to office to make charitable donations during the prohibited period.  The companion bill is being heard and staff submitted testimony taking no position.
-HB 2156  Appropriates moneys from the general revenues of the State to the Commission for operating expenses.  This bill is similar to HB 577 which was introduced last session.  The bill has been heard and passed the Judiciary committee.  Staff submitted testimony in strong support.
-HB 2183  Adds a new section to Chapter 11 where the shareholders of a corporation would need to approve a contribution or expenditure before being made.  No hearing has been scheduled yet.
-HB 2552  Creates a comprehensive public funding program.  This bill includes a provision that the program will not run if the balance in the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund falls below $3.5 million.  The fund balance has been below $3.5 million for some time and if the language remains unchanged and the bill passes, the program will not run.
-SB 2266  Creates a new section that would prohibit campaign contributions from certain entities to members of the legislature.  No hearing has been scheduled yet.

Chair Shoda commented that the Commission should support this bill, but after discussion, the consensus of the Commissioners was to take no position.

Discussion of Status of Proposed Amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules Affecting Campaign Spending Commission
General Counsel Kam reported that he is working with Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto on the language of the rules.  She has made some suggestions that have been incorporated into the rules, but there are further concerns still being addressed.

Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto asked that the agenda be amended to have the discussion on the rules in executive session.

Commissioner Luke moved to amend the agenda that the discussion on the rules be in executive session pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4).  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Yoshihara.  Motion carried unanimously.

Report from Executive Director
Welcome and Introduction of New Commissioner
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that Governor Ige appointed Kenneth Goodenow.  He took his oath of office today before the meeting and his term will end on 6/30/2019.  His orientation will be following the meeting.

Commissioner Goodenow is a graduate of Iolani School, the University of the South, and the William S. Richardson School of Law.  He is an attorney in Hilo, specializing in family and criminal law. Commissioner Goodenow is a former Hawaii County Clerk and was a state representative in the Hawaii State Legislature.  He currently serves on several community and corporate boards, including Bay Clinic, Inc., Crime Stoppers of Hilo, and the Hawaii County Board of Ethics.

Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the Supplemental Report for the period 7/1/15 – 12/31/15 was due on 2/1/16. There are 302 candidate committees required to file this report – 256 filed and 46 did not file (15%).  There are 233 noncandidate committees required to file this report – 214 filed and 19 did not file (8%).

Associate Director Baldomero reported that as of today 39 candidate committees and 18 noncandidate committees still have not filed the Supplemental Report.

Update on E-File Forms
Associate Director Baldomero reported that there was a soft launch of the e-sign forms on 2/1/16 and a full launch on 2/2/16.  Candidates and noncandidate committees can now e-sign certain designated forms which can then be e-mailed directly to the Commission.  Announcement of the e-sign forms was made via eblast, social media, and posting on the Commission’s website.

Update on Government Private Cloud Migration
Associate Director Baldomero reported that the government private cloud migration is taking place in 3 phases.  The first phase was successfully completed on 1/22/16.  The next 2 phases will take place on 2/5/16 and at the end of February.  After the third phase, the filing systems will be off line from 3/14/16 – 3/16/16.  During this time, committees will not be able to enter information or file reports, but the viewing of filed reports will be possible.

After some discussion on how to handle committees that try to file a report during this time when the filing systems are off line, the consensus of the Commissioners was that any committee filing the last Supplemental Report which was due on February 1, 2016, would not be fined for this 3-day down time.

Report on Common Cause’s Op-Ed in Star Advertiser on 1/27/16
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao thanked Corie Tanida of Common Cause who authored the Op-Ed that appeared in the Star Advertiser on 1/27/16.  She also thanked Ms. Tanida for her support and interest in the Commission’s work.

Chair Shoda moved to convene Executive Session to consult with their attorney pursuant to HRS §92-5(a)(4) to discuss the proposed administrative rules..  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried unanimously.

Public session reconvened at 12:30 p.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

Vice Chair Yoshihara moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke. Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.