Minutes for January 13, 2016 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
January 13, 2016
10:00 a.m.

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

Staff Present
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, 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 December 16, 2015 Meeting
Amendment proposed by Deputy Attorney General Kunimoto –

Page 2, Report from Executive Director-
Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
First sentence amended to read: “Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the Commission staff has sent demand letters to committees informing them that they have 14 days to pay the assessed fine and/or file the outstanding reports or the Attorney General’s Office will be filling collection proceedings.”

Mr. Michel Palcic, a member of the public, reiterated his concerns that the Commission is not depositing fines into the general fund.  Chair Shoda stated that the matter was discussed and that staff is complying with Budget & Finance procedures concerning the receipt of fines.

Mr. Palcic further commented that in reference to the contested case, a decision still has not been made and that it should be presented at an open meeting.  Vice Chair Yoshihara stated that a final decision has not been made yet, and that when a final decision has been made it will be presented.  Mr. Palcic also voiced his concerns with regards to the COGEL trends reported by the Executive Director, and that the Commission should be mindful of First Amendment infringements.

Commissioner Ching moved to approve the minutes of December 16, 2015 as amended.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried (3-0) with Vice Chair Yoshihara abstaining because she was not in attendance for the December meeting.

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 reported that the 4 Commission bills have been submitted to the House Speaker and Senate President for introduction.  He also stated that in December he met with House Speaker Souki, Senate President Kouchi, and that on 1/6/16 he met with House Judiciary Chair Rhoads regarding the Commission’s bills. He is scheduled to meet with Senate Judiciary Chair Keith-Agaran on 1/21/16.

General Counsel Kam reported that staff received for comment a draft bill that Senator Shimabukuro is planning to introduce.  The bill amends Hawaii Revised Statutes §11-381 to add donations to private schools as a permissible expenditure of campaign funds.  The Commission had no comments or objections to this proposed bill.

Mr. Palcic commented that S.B. 577 which was introduced during the 2015 session, seeks to have fines deposited into the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.  He stated that this bill should not be supported because it creates a conflict of interest because it allows the Commission to create its own funding by fining campaigns or anyone that violates the campaign spending laws.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao and General Counsel Kam both stated that S.B. 577 is not a Commission bill.

He further commented that because the cost of running a campaign is increasing, the Commission should consider legislation that would increase or eliminate the contribution limits.  General Counsel Kam stated that staff would not support eliminating the contribution limits, and Chair Shoda also stated that he felt contribution limits are needed.

Discussion and Approval of Proposed Amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules Affecting Campaign Spending Commission
General Counsel Kam reported that proposed rules have been reviewed by the Attorney General’s Office.  He highlighted two changes made by the staff: (1) Section 3-160-3 to repeal “clearly identified” because this term is already defined in the statutes; and, (2) Amend Section 3-161-80 to clarify the procedure for rule relief rather than for deciding a petition.

Mr. Palcic reiterated that the statute provides that the Commission may assess fines, but letters are being sent that fines have been assessed.  The staff does not have the authority to assess fines.  He suggested that the letter be changed to read that, “fines may be assessed.”  General Counsel Kam stated that Mr. Palcic’s comments do not relate to discussion on the proposed rules.

Mr. Palcic asked that the question on whether the staff has the authority to assess fines be put on a future agenda for discussion.

Report from Executive Director
Update on Gubernatorial Appointment of New Campaign Spending Commissioner
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the matter is still pending.  She informed Commissioners that she has left messages with the Boards and Commissions Office and with the Governor’s Chief of Staff regarding the appointment of a fifth member.

Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that 7 matters have been referred to the Attorney General’s Civil Recoveries Division for non-compliance.  Of the 7 matters, 4 matters are pending and 3 have complied with payment of fines and/or filing of outstanding reports.

The Supplemental Report for the period 7/1/15 – 12/31/15 is due on 2/1/16. There are 303 candidate committees required to file this report. To date, 19 (6%) candidate committee have filed this report. There are 233 noncandidate committees required to file the Supplemental Report. To date, 20 (9%) noncandidate committees have filed this report.

The newsletter which will be issued on 1/13/16 will have a reminder about the Supplemental Report due on 2/1/16.

Commissioner Luke moved to convene Executive Session to consult with attorney pursuant to HRS §§92-5(a)(4) and 92-5(a)(2).  Motion seconded by Vice Chair Yoshihara.  Motion carried (4-0).

Public session reconvened

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

Vice Chair Yoshihara moved to adjourn meeting.  Motion seconded Commissioner Luke. Motion carried (4-0).  Meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.