Minutes for November 10, 2021 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Zoom Video Conference
November 10, 2021
10:00 a.m.

Commissioners Present
Stanley Lum, Maryellen Markley, Ph.D., Bryan Luke, Neal Herbert, Vic Bonfiglio

Staff Present
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Yayoi Tumamao, Janelle Tanna
Deputy Attorney General Candace Park

Sandy Ma (Common Cause)

Call to Order
Chair Lum called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.

Chair Lum went over the procedures for this meeting via Zoom and introduced all who were present.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes of Meeting on 10/13/21
Chair Lum asked for comments or changes to the minutes.  There were none.  Chair Lum called for a motion to approve the minutes.

Commissioner Luke moved to approve the minutes of the 10/13/21 meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Herbert.  Motion carried (5-0).

New Business
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the Conciliation Agreement on the agenda was a result of an investigation initiated by Commission staff pursuant to HRS §11-314(7) to determine whether there had been a violation of the Hawaii campaign spending laws.  She stated that the Respondent has been informed in a letter from Commission staff of the violation and has been notified of today’s meeting as well as received a copy of the proposed conciliation agreement.  She recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination of probable cause that a violation had been committed, waive further proceedings, and approve the settlement amount stated in the proposed agreement.

*Proposed Conciliation Agreement No. 22-08 – In Re the Matter of Hoohuli Headquarters – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao explained that this proposed conciliation agreement concerns the late filing of the Supplemental Report and requests that they assess a reduced fine from $200 to $66.67 as it is Respondent’s first violation.  Chair Lum asked if there were any comments or questions.

Vice Chair Markley moved to approve the proposed conciliation agreement.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Luke.  Motion carried (5-0).

*Report on 2021 Annual Online Survey – Associate Director Baldomero reported on the results of the Commission’s 2021 Annual Online Survey results.  He stated that the purpose of the survey is to help evaluate the effectiveness of Commission operations and communications for fiscal year 2021 (i.e., July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) as well as provide the Commission with any feedback in areas that we administer and regulate for improvement in fiscal year 2022 and beyond.  He made the following remarks:

  • This was the 10th year of the survey.
  • The survey was launched on 9/13/21 via the CSC website, E-Blast, Facebook & Twitter, and closed on 10/11/21.
  • Total outreach via E-Blast was 980, which made up of 393 candidate committees, 250 noncandidate committees and 337 public subscribers. CSC’s Facebook and Twitter pages are in the public domain and at the time of the survey launch, there were 255 Facebook and 901 Twitter followers. There were also 1,355 visitors to the CSC website during the time the survey was open and available on the website.
  • The survey ran for a total of 29 days, which is tied with 2013, 2019 and 2020 for the lowest number of days that we ran the survey, and below the 10-year average of 37 days.
  • There were 120 total responses which ranks at #7 for the 10 years that the Commission has been conducting the survey (144 responses were received in 2020 which was the highest ever received with the second highest number of responses occurring in 2016 with 140). 100 or 83% of the 120 responders completed the survey to the end.
  • 8 minutes and 23 seconds was the typical time spent completing the survey with the CSC estimating it was going to take 5-10 minutes.
  • E-Blasts were sent on 9/13/21, 9/20/21, 9/27/21, 10/4/21 and 10/11/21, and Facebook and Twitter posts were done on 9/13/21, 9/20/21, 9/27/21, 10/4/21 and 10/11/21. The CSC website post remained on the website for the entire 29-day duration of the survey.
  • The survey comprised of 7 sections and 40 survey questions (32 multiple choice, 8 open-ended).

Associate Director Baldomero went through each of the 7 sections of the survey:

1 – Background Information Highlights (5 Questions/120 Responses)

o Responders were mostly candidates (25) then treasurers of candidate committees (24) and treasurers of noncandidate committees (24).  There were also 17 responses from interested members of a candidate or noncandidate committee not listed on the Organizational Report and 14 responses from members of the public. The responders have a wide-range of experience among the 5 ranges with most falling in the 10-20 years of experience (30), then the 1-3 years of experience (26) and 5-10 years of experience (26) range, but overall, this was a balanced group that represented different areas of experience.

o 102 or 85% filed CSC reports electronically, 65 or 54% made a contribution or loan to a candidate committee, and 64 or 53% have been involved in campaign activities.

o 81 or 68% responded that this was their first time taking the survey with 35 or 29% responding that they took the survey between 2-5 times, so it seems that this is a group that will offer us a fresh look at what we do. Only 4 or 3% took the survey between 6-10 times.

2 – Communication/Access Highlights (10 Questions/113 Responses)

o 96 or 85% of responders in this category responded that the Commission’s website was the #1 source for obtaining information from the Commission followed by phone calls or drop-in visits to the Commission’s office (80 or 71%), Email/E-Blasts (76 or 67%), and then Guidebooks and Manuals (74 or 65%).

o Social media engagement is still lacking with only 17 or 15% following us on Facebook and/or Twitter, compared to 96 or 85% who are not.  Despite that, 94 or 83% were email subscribers who received E-Blasts (i.e., most of the responders came from our E-Blast outreach and the CSC website versus Facebook and Twitter posts) compared to 19 or 17% who were not.

o Electronically filing disclosure reports (90 or 80%), followed by viewing candidate committee reports (62 or 55%), electronically filing forms (58 or 51%), viewing committee reporting schedules (56 or 50%), and accessing the campaign finance and rules (50 or 44%), drove people to the CSC website. Overall, it seems that responders are visiting our website to electronically file reports and forms, and to view committee reports and reporting schedules.  They are also looking for information to help them comply.

o Overall, the responders were satisfied with what they see on the Commission’s website (104 or 92%).

o Of the 62 or 55% who said that they use the searchable database, 58 or 91% said it is a helpful tool that is mainly used to search contributor names and how much money they gave to candidates (47 or 80%), and how much money was given to candidates from noncandidate committees (31 or 53%).

o The candidate and noncandidate committee data visualization apps were not as popular as the searchable database with 35 or 31% who said they had used it.

3 – Education/Training Highlights (4 Questions/110 Responses)

o 32 or 29% viewed the candidate committee cyber learning videos and 15 or 14% viewed the noncandidate committee cyber learning videos with 66 or 60% never viewing any videos. Slightly more responders viewed the candidate cyber learning videos then attended training, but there was still a high number of responders that did not do either or felt that the two questions were not applicable to them.

o For those who attended training, most of them said that it had been more than 3 years ago (26 or 24%) or 1-3 years (19 or 17%) since they last attended an in-person training or viewed the cyber learning videos.

o 57 or 52% have viewed the Candidate Committee Guidebook, 45 or 41% viewed the Candidate Filing System Manual, and 42 or 38% viewed the Treasurer’s Guidebook, and so it seems that this was the preferable way of obtaining information on the requirements.

4 – Compliance/Enforcement Highlights (5 Questions/106 Responses)

o 55 or 52% of responders in this category said they filed their disclosure reports on time.  41 or 39% said they have not, with 36 or 88% who said they only filed late 1-2 times.

o 55 or 52% of responders said they were fined 1-2 times with 6 or 6% saying they were fined 3-5 times. 36 or 34% said they were never fined.

o 61 or 58% never entered into a Conciliation Agreement with the Commission but 30 or 28% have entered into a Conciliation Agreement with the Commission.

o 91 or 86% have never had a complaint filed against them with 2 or 2% saying they had a complaint brought before the Commission against them.

5 – Public Funding Highlights (5 Questions/105 Responses)

o Only a small number of responders in this category (11 or 10%) have qualified for and received public funding versus 56 or 53% who have not. Of the 11 receiving public funds, 4 or 17% received the maximum amount.

o 64 or 61% support public funding versus 41 or 39% who did not.

Commissioner Luke expressed his concerns about candidates who receive public funds by agreeing to the expenditure limit but goes over the limit during the election.  Associate Director Baldomero responded that there are procedures in place that candidates must follow when they exceed the limit, and if they fail to comply, they will be fined.  He added that there are severe penalties for candidates who misuse public funds.

6 – Other Highlights (6 Questions/101 Responses)

o 62 or 61% of responders in this category said they would support a general fund appropriation to see public funding continue versus 39 or 39% who said they would not. 40 or 40% have been checking off the $3 tax check-off versus 61 or 60% who have not.

o 87 or 86% knew that the $3 check-off did not affect their tax liability or decrease their refund versus 14 or 14% who did not. It seems that the responders are aware that checking off the box does not affect their tax liability or decrease their refund, but they are still not checking the box.

o 52 or 51% responded that Super PACs were not a concern versus 49 or 49% who said they were a concern. This is the second time that this response was so balanced, but the first time that Super PACs were not a concern.

7 – COVID-19 Closure Highlights (5 Questions/100 Responses)

o Since the government stay-at-home order was issued by Governor Ige in March 2020, 68 or 68% of responders said that they were able to obtain answers and assistance by phone with 60 or 60% saying they were able to obtain answers and assistance by the Commission’s website and 32 or 32% by Email/E-Blast.

o 65 or 65% said they were able to obtain answers and assistance on the same day while 15 or 15% said 1-2 days later.

o 4 or 4% said that they attended a Commission meeting in-person and 3 or 3% said they attended a monthly Commission meeting by Zoom.  29 or 29% did not know the Commission was meeting regularly.

Associate Director Baldomero asked if there were any questions.  Executive Director Izumi-Nitao stated that the survey results will be posted on the Commission’s website.

Ms. Sandy Ma of Common Cause asked how long the records are kept.  Associate Director Baldomero responded that the records have a 10-year retention period, but the data on the Commission’s website goes back further than 10 years.

Old Business
*Docket No. 22-02 – In Re the Matter of Shaena Hoohuli, Samantha Watson, and Hoohuli Headquarters – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that this matter was postponed from the 10/13/21 Commission meeting to permit Respondents to pursue a conciliation agreement (Conciliation Agreement No. 22-08) which was approved earlier at this meeting.  As such, Executive Director Izumi-Nitao recommended that this complaint be dismissed.

Commissioner Herbert moved to dismiss this complaint.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Bonfiglio.  Motion carried (5-0).

Report from the Executive Director
*Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the number of committees that have not filed the past disclosure reports remains the same.  She added that there are 18 cases that are currently with the Attorney General Civil Recoveries Division.

Executive Director Izumi-Nitao also reported that the next disclosure report is the Preliminary Primary Report due on December 8, 2021.  This is the first disclosure report for the Special Election.

*Attendance & Update on the 2021 COGEL Virtual Conference – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the 2021 COGEL Conference will now be held virtually from 12/6/21 through 12/8/21.  She will be attending the virtual conference along with Associate Director Baldomero, Chair Lum, Commissioner Herbert, Commissioner Bonfiglio, and Commissioner Luke.

*Update of New Sunshine Law Requirements – Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported that the sunshine law was amended to allow public meetings to be remotely conducted online, and the new requirements will go into effect on 1/1/2022.  She summarized the remote meeting provisions.

Commissioner Herbert moved to adjourn the meeting.  Motion was seconded by Commissioner Bonfiglio.  Motion carried (5-0).  Meeting adjourned at 11:01 a.m.

Next Meeting:
Scheduled for Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 10 a.m. via Zoom