Minutes for October 9, 2013 Meeting

Posted in Minutes

Campaign Spending Commission
Leiopapa A Kamehameha Building, Room 204
October 9, 2013
1:15 p.m.

Commissioners Present:
G. William Snipes, Eldon Ching, Gregory Shoda, Adrienne Yoshihara

Staff Present:
Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Tony Baldomero, Gary Kam, Ellen Kojima
Deputy Attorney General Valri Kunimoto

Call to Order:
Meeting convened at 1:20 p.m. with Chair Snipes presiding.

Consideration and Approval of Minutes on 9/11/13:
Commissioner Shoda moved to approve the minutes of September 11, 2013.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Yoshihara.  Motion carried unanimously.

New Business
Docket No. 14-05 – In Re the Matter of Karen Awana and Friends of Karen Awana
Present – Karen Awana and John Mizuno

General Counsel Kam reported that a complaint was filed against Respondents Karen Awana and Friends of Karen Awana for nine counts of filing false or inaccurate reports, untimely deposits of campaign contributions, and failure to keep records.  A previous complaint against Respondents for the same types of violations resulted in a fine of $6,800 (Docket No. 12-07).

Respondent Awana’s Organizational Report lists Awana as the candidate, chairperson, and treasurer.

On 1/30/13, Respondent Awana delivered a check in the amount of $3,800 to the Commission staff.  Check was return by the bank due to insufficient funds on 2/15/13.  Respondent Awana’s most recent report showed a balance of $16,027.57.

On 3/5/13, Commission Executive Director issued a subpoena to Central Pacific Bank seeking Respondent’s bank records from 1/1/11 to 12/31/12.  Review of bank records revealed Respondent’s failure to report contributions and expenditures.

On 5/21/13, Commission staff sent a letter to Respondent seeking an explanation and records by 6/5/13, for 2 reported contributions not reflected in the bank statements, cash deposits, 53 expenditures for cash, checks paid to Respondent Awana, and food and beverage expenses.  Respondent requested an extension of time to respond and staff agreed to extending the deadline to 8/9/13.

Respondent Awana filed a no activity Supplemental Report for the period 1/1/13 to 6/30/13.  Commission staff questioned the accuracy of this report because Respondent Awana filed a Notice of Intent to Hold a Fundraiser on 4/5/13 for a fundraiser to be held on 4/11/13.  On 3/5/13, Commission Executive Director issued a subpoena to Central Pacific Bank seeking Respondent’s bank records from 1/1/13 to 6/30/13.

In response to Commission staff’s 5/21/13 request for records, Respondent Awana only produced 3 receipts.  A review of bank records for 1/1/13 to 6/30/13 period revealed that Respondent did not report contributions totaling $3,450 and expenditures totaling $7,080.

Staff recommended that the Commission make a preliminary determination pursuant to HRS §11-405(a) that probable cause exists to believe that violations of campaign finance laws have been committed, and to assess fines as follows:

Counts I – IX (False Reports) – $750 for each count or $6,750;
Count X (Untimely Deposits) – $35 per check (24 checks) or $840; and
Count XI (Failure to Keep Records) $1,000.

John Mizuno, as a private citizen and friend of Respondent Awana, represented the following remediation plan to Commissioners for consideration.  He stated that the disclosure reports in question have been amended; Respondent Awana’s bank account will be closed; the outstanding fine balance in Docket No. 12-7 has been paid; and registration for the Friends of Karen Awana committee will request termination.  Mizuno stated that Respondent Awana intends to start a new committee called Ohana for Awana, appoint a chairperson (Irene Awana) and treasurer (Greg Gomes), Respondent Awana will no longer handle her campaign funds and will not use a debit card because that was a problem as well as use carbon copy checks to maintain records.  He further stated that Respondent Awana would be willing to call Commission staff each month to ensure that reports are current and properly filed.

Respondent Awana apologized for her inability to accurately file her disclosure reports.  She explained that her father handled her campaign finances and since his death she has not been able to find anyone who would take on the responsibility.  She further stated that she did not use any campaign funds for personal use.

Commissioners stated that because of Respondent Awana’s repetitive nature of violating the law and her poor communication with the Commission’s staff they were inclined to uphold staff’s recommendation to impose fines totaling $8,590 as stated in Docket 14-05.

Chair Snipes moved that the Commission make a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that violations have been committed and to accept the fines and terms as stated in Docket No. 14-05.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried unanimously.

Consideration and Discussion Commission Legislation for 2014 Legislative Session
General Counsel Kam presented for Commissioner review and discussion 3 bills for the 2014 Legislative Session.

CSC-01 – Amends HRS §11-334(a)(4) to require candidate committees to file the January 31st Supplemental Report regardless of whether it is an election year.

CSC-02 – Amends HRS §11-425 to require notification to the Office of Elections (instead of Chief Elections Officer) if candidate committee exceeds expenditure limit.

CSC-03 – Amends HRS §11-156 to require elected officials to file all Commission disclosure reports and pay all fines assessed before candidates receive a certificate of election from the Office of Elections.

Chair Snipes moved to accept proposed legislation.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Yoshihara.  Motion carried unanimously.

Old Business
Docket No. 13-14 – In Re the Matter of Progressive Hawaii Now, John J. Higgins, Randy W. Ching, and Kory Payne
General Counsel Kam reported that a complaint was filed for the failure to timely file the Final Election Period and Supplemental Reports, excess contribution, false Preliminary Primary Report, unauthorized expenditures of committee funds, failure to amend the Organizational Report, and failure to keep records.

On 9/11/13, the Commission made a preliminary determination of probable cause that violations had been committed regarding Counts I-VI and continued Court VII until 10/9/13, to give Respondent time to submit requested records.  To date, staff has not received requested records.

Staff recommended that Commissioners make a preliminary determination as to Count VII pursuant to HRS §11-405(a) that probable cause exists to believe that a violation of campaign finance laws has been committed and to assess a $1,000 fine against Respondents Progressive and Ching.

Chair Snipes moved that regarding Count VII of Docket No. 14-01, the Commission makes a preliminary determination that probable cause exists that a violation has been committed and to accept the fine and terms as stated in Docket No. 14-01.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried unanimously.

Presentation and Discussion of Amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules Affecting Campaign Spending Commission
The Commission has three sets of rules: (1) Chapter 160, Contributions and Expenditures; (2) Chapter 161, Contested Case Hearings; and (3) Chapter 162, Act 244, which expires after the 2014 election (plan is to repeal after the 2014 election).  The majority of amendments are in Chapter 160.

Commissioners were given until 9/25/13 to submit comments and/or suggestions regarding draft (Ramseyer format) of the Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapters 160 and 161.  Staff did not receive any comments and/or suggestions to the proposed amendments.

Commissioner Yoshihara moved that staff have the attorney general’s office review draft rules and that they proceed to seek governor’s approval to hold a public hearing.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching.  Motion carried unanimously.

Chair Snipes on behalf of the Commission thanked Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha for the argument presented in the 9th Circuit Court appeal regarding the Yamada case, and that they look forward to the court’s decision.  He also thanked Commission members for taking the time to attend the hearing.

Report from Executive Director:
Executive Director Izumi-Nitao reported on the following items:

Report on Compliance of Filing Timely Disclosure Reports
To date, Adam Reeder, has not filed the Supplemental Report nor paid the fine.  Nora Pajimola and Bart Mulvilhill have filed the Supplemental Report, but they have not paid the assessed fines.

Mr. Mulvihill also filed other outstanding reports and has indicated that he will ask that the Commission reconsider the assessed fines.  Mr. Mulvihill however has not submitted any request for reconsideration.

Update on Visualization of Socrata Data
Associate Director Baldomero presented a rough draft of the visualization project which included 11 charts of the Commission’s data.  The purpose for the charts to tell a story of the data that is filed by the candidates.  The charts contain actual numbers for the period ending 6/30/2013.  Staff is working with Socrata, a state contractor hired by OIMT, and ICSD on this project.  The plan is to create a code so that data graphics can be replicated for all candidate reports.  Timeline is to have this ready to present at the state’s digital summit on 11/21/2013.

Discussion of Meeting with Office of Elections
On 9/26/13, staff met with Office of Elections staff to discuss election related matters.  Discussion included: Office of Election 2014 Candidate’s Manual and election packet information, processing of the Commission’s Affidavit for reduced filing fee of nomination papers, primary election for the OHA election, coordination regarding certification of elected officials, and proposed 2014 legislation.

Chair Snipes moved to convene executive session to consult with attorney.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Yoshihara.  Motion carried unanimously.

Public Session reconvened – 2:15 p.m.

Next Meeting:
Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at 10:30 a.m.

Commissioner Yoshihara moved to adjourn meeting.  Motion seconded by Commissioner Ching. Motion carried unanimously.  Meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.