Minutes for June 12, 2013 MeetingPosted in Minutes
Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
June 12, 2013
Michael Weaver, G. William Snipes, Tina Pedro Gomes, Eldon Ching, Gregory Shoda
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Ellen Kojima
Deputy Attorney General Robyn Chun
Call to Order:
Meeting convened at 10:30 a.m. with Chair Snipes presiding.
Consideration of Minutes on 5/8/13:
Vice Chair Gomes moved to approve the minutes of May 8, 2013. Motion seconded by Commissioner Shoda. Motion carried (Weaver, Snipes, Gomes, Shoda).
Proposed Conciliation Agreement 13-64 – In Re the Matter of Veritas
General Counsel Kam reported that the proposed conciliation agreement is offered regarding the late filing of the Organizational Report, failure to file 8 disclosure reports, and failure to keep records.
The Respondent has been informed in a letter from Commission staff of the violations. They have also been notified of today’s meeting, received a copy of the proposed conciliation agreement, and waived the opportunity to explain or otherwise respond to the notice of violation.
Respondent Veritas registered as a noncandidate committee on 11/14/12. The Organizational Report shows Mr. Lloyd Asato as the chair and treasurer, and Ms. Terri Otani as the custodian of records. On 12/7/12, a Notice of Late Report was sent to Mr. Asato. In a conversation with Executive Director Izumi-Nitao, Mr. Asato disclosed that he opened a bank account on behalf of Respondent Veritas in 2010, and that they received contributions and made expenditures during the 2010 elections. For the 2010 election, Respondent Veritas did not register as a noncandidate committee nor did they file any disclosure reports.
In December 2012, General Counsel Kam initiated an investigation of Respondent Veritas. On 3/5/13, Respondent Veritas’ bank records were subpoenaed. Records revealed that contributions were received and expenditures were made during the 2010 election period, and of the contributions received, $1,100 appeared to be anonymous contributions. The committee’s records showed a balance of $3,101.09.
In discussion with General Counsel Kam, Respondent Veritas agreed to the following assessment for consideration by the Commission:
-Escheat $1,100 as anonymous contributions;
-Pay a fine of $2,001.09 for the late filing of the Organizational Report, the failure to file 8 disclosure reports from 2010, and the failure to keep records; and
-Electronically file the 8 disclosure reports.
Staff recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination pursuant to HRS §11-405(a) that there is probable cause to believe that the Hawaii campaign spending laws were violated, that Respondents be assessed an administrative fine in the amount of $3,101.09 (escheat $1,100 as anonymous contributions and pay a fine of $2,001.09 for the late filing of the Organizational Report, the failure to file 8 disclosure reports, and the failure to keep records).
Commissioner Shoda moved that the Commission make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that violations have been committed and to accept the escheat/fine of $3,101.09 and terms as stated in Conciliation Agreement 13-64. Motion seconded by Vice Chair Gomes. Motion carried unanimously.
Discussion and Decision Making of Monthly Commission Meetings, Commissioners to Attend the 2013 COGEL Conference, Educational or Training Opportunities for Commissioners, and Sharing of News Articles Relating to Campaign Finance
Monthly Commission Meetings – Currently monthly meetings held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. After discussion, Commissioners decided to continue the current practice.
Commissioners to Attend the 2013 COGEL Conference – Agreement to have Commissioner Gregory Shoda and new Commissioner Adrienne Yoshihara attend the conference along with Executive Director Izumi-Nitao and Associate Director Baldomero.
Educational or Training Opportunities – (1) Legislation Training – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that Robin Yahiku, DAGS Legislative Coordinator, has agreed to provide a presentation on the legislative process. She is to inquire if State Ethics Commission and Honolulu Ethics Commission are interested in attending. (2) Prosecution Process – General Counsel Kam reported that he has made a request to the Attorney General’s Office regarding a presentation on the criminal referral process. Commissioners indicated that they would like to hear from both the Attorney General’s Office and the City and County of Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.
Sharing of News Articles Relating to Campaign Finance – Chair Snipes indicated that he would like the Commissioners to be able to share articles of interest. Discussion on how the information should be shared, whether it be by email to all members or the creation of a folder in MiMedia. If it does by email, there is to be no discussion concerning the contents of the articles.
General Counsel Kam reported that he attended a DAGS briefing with the Governor on June 6, 2013 regarding SB 31 and HB 1147. The Governor indicated that he will be signing both bills. There was no discussion at the briefing concerning SB 3 (which is not a campaign finance bill but has impact to the Commission with respect to the distribution of partial public funds to qualifying Office of Hawaiian Affairs candidates).
SB 30 – Raises the expenditure limit for prosecuting attorney candidates and requires that affidavits to voluntarily limit campaign expenditure limits be filed no later than the time of filing nomination papers. Bill signed into law on 4/30/13 (Act 63) and took effect upon approval.
SB 31 – Requires noncandidate committees to report contributions received and made and requires noncandidate committees to file the 1/31 Supplemental Report regardless of whether it is after an election year.
HB 1147 – Requires noncandidate committees to identify certain top contributors for advertisements, clarifies that persons who fail to file is subject to monitoring and penalties, amends reporting, and repeals HRS §11-332 (corporate filing system).
SB 3 – Requires Office of Hawaiian Affairs candidates to run in the primary election.
Docket No. 13-25 – In Re the Matter of Erin McLaughlin and Friends of Erin McLaughlin
General Counsel Kam reported that a complaint was filed for failure to file the Final Election Period Report and the Supplemental Report.
Respondent McLaughlin was a candidate in the 2012 election for the Maui County Council. At the 2/13/13 Commission meeting, the Commissioners voted to refer the matter for prosecution. Staff referred Docket No. 13-25 to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution. In May 2013, the Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Division informed the Commission that it declined prosecution.
Staff recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that violations have been committed and assess a fine of $1,000 (i.e., $500 for each unfiled report).
Commissioner Weaver moved that the Commission make a preliminary determination that probable cause exist that violations have been committed and to accept the fine of $1,000 and terms as stated in Docket No. 13-25. Motion seconded by Vice Chair Gomes. Motion carried unanimously.
Report from Executive Director:
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported on the following items:
Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
No new update. Next report due 7/31/13 – Supplemental Report.
Report on CSC July 2013 Newsletter
Topics for the July newsletter include a reminder of the 7/31/13 due date for the Supplemental Report, CSC’s new website, 2013 legislation, the Commission’s 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, a reminder to check-off $3 on tax returns, updating of the candidate and noncandidate committee guidebooks and manuals, updating of e-learning videos, introduction of a new Commissioner, Advisory Opinion #13-02, and an announcement that the Hawaii Comprehensive Public Funding Program will not run during the 2014 election due to insufficient funds. Vice Chair Gomes suggested including an announcement of the searchable database on the CSC website.
Report on 2013 Annual Online Survey
Last year was the first time the Commission conducted an online survey. Proposed draft for this year’s online survey include topics such as background information (to assess who is submitting the survey), communication/access (how and whether information is being obtained), education/training, compliance & enforcement, public funding, and other general questions.
Discussion regarding the $3 check-off and whether there should be a question supporting an increase in the amount. Further discussion on whether online survey should occur in an election year.
Update from Boards and Commission Concerning Appoint of New Commissioner
Adrienne Yoshihara has been appointed to serve on the Commission effective 7/1/13 until 6/30/17. Ms. Yoshihara is a partner with the firm Chun Kerr where she practices in the areas of tax, commercial transactions, and estate planning. She received her BA in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College, a JD from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, and a LLM in Taxation from New York University. She has served on a number of boards of community and charitable organizations. An orientation has been scheduled for her with staff on 6/13/13.
Recognition of Commissioner Michael Weaver
On behalf of staff, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao thanked Commissioner Weaver for his time (8 years) and service as a Commission member.
On behalf of the Commission, Chair Snipes also thanked Commissioner Weaver for his service as a Commission member.
Vice Chair Gomes moved to convene executive session to consult with attorney. Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching. Motion carried unanimously.
Public Session reconvened – 11:45a.m.
Scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at 10:30 a.m.
Commissioner Weaver moved to adjourn meeting. Motion seconded by Vice Chair Gomes. Motion carried unanimously. Meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.