Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Ban Fundraisers During Session? SB555 Goes to Senate Floor
By Selected News Articles @ 6:36 PM :: 792 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government

Bill would prevent Hawaii lawmakers from fundraising during legislative sessions

by Kim Jarrett,  The Center Square, Feb 23, 2022

(The Center Square) – The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended approval of a bill that would ban fundraising activities for lawmakers during legislative sessions. 

The bill comes on the heels of the arrests of former Senate Majority Leader Jamie Kalani English and former House member Ty J.K. Cullen on fraud charges. The two are accused of taking money and other items in exchange for their votes in the Legislature. English and Cullen have pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in July.

The bill is backed by the state's Campaign Spending Commission, which maintains an online database of what candidates receive in fundraising. 

"This amendment will prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption," Kristin Izumi-Nitao, executive director of the Campaign Spending Commission, said in written testimony. "The commission recommends that this committee consider amending the bill to apply to all elected office holders."

The bill, which passed out of committee Tuesday, also had broad support from the public and state organizations. However, some wished the bill went further.

"Common Cause Hawaii also suggests prohibiting legislators, during session, regular or special, from receiving contributions or depositing or using any contribution of money that was not deposited prior to the legislative session," wrote Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, in her testimony. "This committee should also consider applying the prohibition to every statewide elected position."

Others also asked lawmakers to ban all contributions during sessions.

"Please consider strengthening and amending the proposed SD1 similar to the Virginia state law which prohibits not just the holding of fundraisers but bans the 'solicitation or acceptance' of campaign contributions during the session," wrote Gary Hooser, executive director of the Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative and a former state senator, in testimony submitted to the committee. "Currently, 28 states place restrictions on giving and receiving campaign contributions during the legislative session."

Sen. Kurt Fevella, R-Ewa Beach, said banning lawmakers' activity in the evenings during the session was an infringement "on our constitutional rights." He said he was in favor of the bill, but he does not think it would stop corruption completely.

"If someone is interested in taking and receiving this money, there's not any bill, any law, that will effect what these people are doing," Fevella said. 

Committee Chair Karl Rhoads, D-Downtown-Nuuanu-Liliha, said the bill was not perfect. 

"This is not a silver bullet," Rhoads said. "It is an important step, I believe, in delinking our fundraising activities from our legislative activities."

The bill now goes to the full Senate for a vote.


Background: Fundraising events during session net $1.5M for English and other top Legislators


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii