Monday, May 20, 2024
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 :: 1620 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


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia 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 ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

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

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii