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Sunday, March 13, 2011
Cabanilla staffer, on the job at Capitol, “also works for an attorney”
By Andrew Walden @ 4:57 PM :: 11299 Views :: Maui County, Ethics, Politicians

by Andrew Walden

Netra Halperin is Rep Rida Cabanilla’s House Housing Committee Clerk, but while on her job at the Legislature, Halperin "also work(s) for an attorney, James Fosbinder….”

The revelation comes in Halperin’s account of a conversation she had with lobbyists from the Hawaii Financial Services Association and Bank of America who were making the rounds of the Capitol speaking to legislators and their staff earlier this month.  Halperin was quoted in the March 11 Daily Finance (emphasis added):

On about 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March, (sic) Marvin Dang, Attorney for Hawaii Financial Services Association and David Swartley, Senior V.P., Regional Manager, Pacific Northwest, State and Local Government Relations, Bank of America, walked into our office in the capitol.

Swartley: "Bank of America is offering a special hot line to the Bank President for legislators, their staff, their families and constituents who need help with their Bank of America mortgages. It is the same number that we give to congresspeople and their families and aides. The line goes directly to the president's office, though they wouldn't be speaking directly with the president."

Halperin: "I also work for an attorney, James Fosbinder, who defends homeowners from mortgage foreclosure. Can I also give our clients this hot line number?

Swartley: "No, it is only for legislators and their staff, and family -- and constituents."

Halperin "Is that ethical?"

Swartley: "I think it's transparent. It is what it is."

Dang: "Let me explain it to you this way: I used to be a legislator. Constituents would call me about things like potholes. Even though it wasn't my responsibility I would send them to someone who could help them. People only call legislators if their problem is very serious. Our goal is to help legislators, to take the heat from constituents off of them."

Halperin failed in her 2010 Democratic Primary race against Maui legislator Joe Bertram—infamous for his court appearance on behalf of a convicted child predator.  Bertram eventually lost the General Election to Republican George Fontaine.  Ironically, during her campaign, Halperin touted her legislative experience working in Cabanilla’s office which was at the time under the supervision of convicted child molester Leon Rouse. 

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission Ethics Guide for State Employees doesn’t mention child molesters, but it does include this item:  “You may not use State time, equipment, or facilities, for private business purposes, including for-profit and not-for-profit corporations.” – HRS 84-13 (2).

---30---

RELATED:

Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

Legislative races: Mainland “Gay Victory” money flowing to molester’s buddy Joe Bertram and HB444 sponsor Blake Oshiro

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