by Andrew Walden
The State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs is openly using State resources to campaign against the reelection of OHA Trustee Kelii Akina and against three other candidates.
Trustee Brendon Lee, writing a “Maka’ala (Alert) for the OHA Election” in the August, 2020, edition of OHA’s house organ, Ka Wai Ola, urges readers to vote against “Grass Roots” and “a coalition running for multiple trustee seats in 2020.”
Lee is referring to Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina and three other candidates recently endorsed by former OHA candidate Sam King:
Lee’s column is a gross and obvious violation of HRS § 84-13, the “Fair Treatment” section of the State Ethics Code, which prohibits the use of state resources for political campaign purposes.
KWO editors are as guilty as Lee is. To avoid the appearance of state-funded electioneering, OHA normally blocks publication of Trustee columns written by Trustees who are running for reelection. Lee is up in 2022. At other times, KWO has refused to print Trustee columns OHA admin finds to be disadvantageous, such as this 2013 column by then-Trustee Rowena Akana questioning OHA’s Gentry Pacific purchase.
This is the latest in a long line of ethical violations emanating from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs – many of which were exposed thanks to the hard work of OHA watchdog Trustee Keli’i Akina.
Primary Day is Saturday August 10. Have you mailed in your ballot yet?
July 26, 2020: Miske Lawyer Behind Campaign to Unseat OHA Trustee Keli’i Akina
PDF: Brendon Lee KWO Aug 2020
KWO: Aug, 2020 (pg 24)
Sam King: My OHA Endorsements