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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Hannemann’s Pittsburgh fundraiser: Misdemeanor? Class C Felony?
By Selected News Articles @ 2:36 AM :: 8114 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

HFP June 15: Hannemann Pittsburgh fundraiser: Campaign Spending Commission not notified until after event

HFP June 12 Hannemann’s Pittsburgh Fundraiser planned since April 29 

KHON: Campaign commission investigates Hannemann’s Pittsburgh fundraiser filing

The Campaign Spending Commission says it will launch an investigation over a Pittsburgh fundraiser held on behalf of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's gubernatorial race.

It stems from conflicting dates of an event and a required filing about it. The Hannemann campaign says they were honest errors by campaign volunteers.

The formal investigation follows a complaint filed pointing out a date listed on a "Notice of Intent to Hold a Fundraiser" was one day after a Pittsburgh campaign event was held.

"The notice of intent to hold the fundraiser has to be filed prior to an event," said Barbara Wong, executive director of the Campaign Spending Commission.

The commission may go beyond the allegations made by the complainant if investigators feel there are any other irregularities.

“We could add additional counts to the complaint or file an additional complaint. At my discretion, I can file a complaint,” Wong said. “The commission has the opportunity to decide whether there is probable cause that a violation or violations occurred, whether to dismiss the complaint, whether to ask for additional investigation or whether to refer it to the prosecutor."

A prosecutor gets involved only in cases where willful or intentional violations are found. According to state statute any person who knowingly, intentionally or recklessly violates any provision of campaign spending law faces a misdemeanor. Anyone who knowingly or intentionally falsifies any report required with the intent to circumvent the law or deceive the commission faces a class C felony.

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SA: Mainland fundraiser draws criticism

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hannemann's Democratic primary opponent, called the trip "a fundraising scheme."

"It was not a meet-and-greet session. It was a fundraiser organized and run by a rail transit consultant. Why would money collected be returned if it were a legitimate event as the mayor claims?" Abercrombie said in a statement yesterday.

"Why did the official city release say the mayor was meeting in D.C. when he was actually campaigning in Pittsburgh?" Abercrombie asked….

Hannemann's campaign was required to file a notice with the Campaign Spending Commission in advance of the fundraiser, but commission records show that the notice was time-stamped on June 9 and stated that the fundraiser would be held on June 10.

Hannemann's city office put out a release on June 9 saying the mayor "will meet in Washington, D.C., today" with Rep. James Oberstar, House Transportation Committee chairman, to talk about funding for Honolulu's rail project.

The release said that on June 10 he would travel to Oklahoma City for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

RELATED: Hannemann Pittsburgh fundraiser: Campaign Spending Commission not notified until after event

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AP: Hannemann Admits Mistake on Mainland Fundraiser

Hannemann later pivoted from the Pittsburgh fundraiser to suggest that the media investigate the mainland fundraisers of a top volunteer for former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, his rival for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Holding a copy of a Campaign Spending Commission notice for an Abercrombie fundraiser on the mainland, Hannemann said it did not name the person or entity sponsoring the event.

Abercrombie listed Jack Endo, his campaign treasurer Jack Endo, which Hannemann acknowledged was legal, "but you should go beyond that and drill down and ask, 'Who are the people or organizations responsible for those fundraisers?'," Hannemann said.

(Interesting because the AtomicMonkey site had an article about this very issue: Mufi site alleges Abercrombie’s chief fundraiser at center of Harris’ “pay-for-play” scandals.)

The mayor noted that the commission filing for his Pittsburgh fundraiser cited Paul Overby as the person responsible for the event. It did not mention, however, that Overby is a former senior director for strategy and performance management at Bombardier, one of three companies seeking a $230 million contract with Honolulu for rail cars.

Hannemann also questioned whether it was appropriate for Abercrombie to name Kelly King as one of his honorary campaign co-chairs. King co-founded a Hawaii biodiesel company that received $3.5 million in earmarked appropriations that Abercrombie shepherded while in Congress.

The mayor raised questions about Miriam Hellreich, the finance director for Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Hellreich was a top fundraiser and adviser to Gov. Linda Lingle's two statewide campaigns.

Hannemann said Aiona should be asked whether the Lingle administration is helping Aiona's contributors.

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," Hannemann said.

In a statement, Abercrombie said, "This is typical of Mufi Hannemann. Instead of answering the questions, he's placing the blame on his own volunteers and pointing the finger at me and Duke Aiona. Apparently, the only person who doesn't make mistakes is Mufi Hannemann."

Abercrombie said Endo's name appeared on Campaign Spending Commission notices because Endo handles all financial transactions, including fundraising activities.

Travis Taylor, an Aiona campaign spokesman, said, "All of our fundraising activities are above board and in full compliance with the law."

The Campaign Spending Commission is investigating a complaint about the notice filed for Hannemann's June 9 fundraiser, said commission Executive Director Barbara Wong. She said the complaint was filed by Carroll Cox, a Honolulu radio host and community activist.

RELATED: Hannemann’s Pittsburgh Fundraiser planned since April 29

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HNN: Hannemann and Abercrombie spar over fundraising money

Hannemann says everything was legitimate, but he still will refuse to take any money raised by the event.

"Everything else associated with that fundraiser was on my own time, was on our own personal campaign and I don't want that getting in the way with charges that have been levied by my opponents, " said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"If the mayor was doing things by the book instead of taking city trips to raise money on the mainland for his governors campaign then he wouldn't be having these problems and be blaming other people," said Neil Abercrombie, candidate for Governor.

Abercrombie claims that the fundraiser was held by a rail consultant, Hannemann says it is a former rail employee. Regardless, Hannemann takes the blame for any mistakes in this case.

But, Hannemann says he's not the one leaving out information. In the last year both he and Abercrombie have had more than 20 fundraisers. All of Abercrombie's paperwork filed with the state lists a single person in charge.

"All you see Neil Abercrombie name and a campaign official named Jack Endo, who are the people responsible for those fundraisers that you've had on the mainland, " said Hannemann.

(Interesting because the AtomicMonkey site had an article about this very issue: Mufi site alleges Abercrombie’s chief fundraiser at center of Harris’ “pay-for-play” scandals.)

read more 

SA: Intent  

The state Campaign Spending Commission is looking into whether Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s campaign for governor provided inadequate notice of a fundraiser in Pittsburgh last week.

State law requires campaigns to file notice with the commission prior to holding fundraisers. The Hannemann campaign gave notice on June 9 for a  Pittsburgh fundraiser on June 10. But the fundraiser was held on June 9.

Barbara Wong, the commission’s executive director, said campaigns that have violated the provision in state law in the past have typically paid $50 fines.

Wong explained that the Hannemann notice was not posted on the commission’s Web site until today because of a technical problem.

Ilind: More thoughts about Mufi’s Pittsburgh fundraiser

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