Sunday, May 04, 2008


Who confirms that Superferry spent only $379,431 on lobbying?

by Larry Geller

The sub-head to the Advertiser article yesterday, "Ethics panel satisfied with effort to amend initial claim of $21,960" is incorrect. There was no hearing, so nothing went before a "panel." The Commissioner simply nodded in approval when the amended report was filed.

In the absence of any oversight by the Ethics Commission or anyone else, why should we believe the headline, "Superferry paid $379,431 for lobbying" or any other number they now claim? Their amended report is $379,431 but we don't know what they really paid. Originally we were supposed to believe $21,791.56. That was their self-report. \

The amended report was filed after Ian Lind wrote to the Ethics Commission raising the question of underreporting. A hearing might have verified the report but there was no hearing.

Not only is there no hearing (despite a "confession" being on the table), the Commission never questioned the original report itself. It took an inquiry by an observant and intrepid reporter to start the wheels moving. Nor are they verifying that the new report is correct.

How many other lowball reports are still in the files? Is that data any good at all?

Leaving the matter this way is like posting a giant billboard, advertising to any company that there is no downside to filing false or incorrect reports in this state. If maybe you get caught, just file a bigger report, then the Ethics Commissioner will say nice things about you. No worries, no fine, no criminal accusations.

Even if there should be a fine, what is $500 in the face of the huge lobbying expenditure? The execs may well spend that much when they get together for a dinner meeting. Let's ask the Legislature to fix the law next session so that it has some teeth.

The lack of oversight is a setback for the rule of law in Hawaii and for the Ethics Commission itself. Smiling on white collar crime is not what they are there for.


Post a Comment

Requiring those Captcha codes at least temporarily, in the hopes that it quells the flood of comment spam I've been receiving.

<< Home


page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Newer›  ‹Older