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Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Ethics Fines for Reps Saiki, DeCoite
By News Release @ 1:47 PM :: 2289 Views :: Ethics, Politicians

State Ethics Commission Resolves Investigation of Representative Lynn DeCoite

From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, August 20, 2020 (excerpts)

…On July 9, 2020, Respondent DeCoite and her primary election opponent appeared on the television program “Insights” (on PBS) for a campaign debate via videoconference. At the conclusion of her time speaking during the debate, Respondent DeCoite referred viewers to her campaign website. …

Respondent DeCoite participated in the July 9 debate via videoconference because of the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondent DeCoite used her Capitol office to participate in the debate, but maintains that she used her personal laptop computer (and not her state computer) for the debate. …

Respondent DeCoite’s use of her Capitol office for a campaign function was improper. Legislators may not use state resources for campaign purposes, even if – as in this case – there is no apparent additional expense to the State from the use of those state resources. …

read … Full Report

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State Ethics Commission Resolves Investigation of Representative Scott K. Saiki

From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, August 20, 2020 (excerpts)

The Commission received several complaints alleging that Respondent Saiki improperly sent his constituents two legislative newsletters, displaying the State Seal and other indicia of state office, that were paid for with campaign funds. The complainants alleged that Respondent Saiki’s mailer was an improper use of state resources for campaign purposes.

As discussed below, the mere use of campaign funds to send a legislative newsletter is not prohibited by the State Ethics Code. As such, the complainants’ allegations do not give rise to any violations of the Ethics Code.

However, Respondent Saiki’s legislative newsletters raise ethics concerns for a different reason: the newsletters – displaying the State Seal and otherwise suggesting that they were official publications of the State of Hawai‘i – referred readers to the social media account for Respondent Saiki’s campaign. The inclusion of campaign-related information in what appeared to be an official legislative newsletter was improper….

read … Full Report

CB: Ethics Commission Fines Speaker Saiki, Rep. DeCoite

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