Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Deficient financial disclosure forms still on Ethics Commission website

by Larry Geller

On March 1, 2012 I posted an article identifying three recent financial disclosure forms that contain rather obvious omissions that I felt the Ethics Commission should have caught.

Today it’s a month later, and there are no amended forms posted on the Ethics Commission website. I wrote one month ago:

Does “disclosure” and “transparency” mean only that the form must be sent in, but not that anyone will look at it? What about those statutory penalties?

Last year Ian Lind discovered that a series of Sen. Clayton Hee’s financial disclosures didn’t jibe with reality. Ian went to the trouble to compare Hee’s disclosures with forms filed by the senator’s wife. Ian posted his findings on May 21, 2011: Politically powerful state senator files false ethics reports.

Despite the “statutory penalties,” Senate President Shan Tsutsui declined to take action against this “politically powerful state senator” under Senate Rule 72, and the Ethics Commission declined to levy any fine whatsoever.

Combined, these two inactions send a clear message to state officials. It also might make us wonder about the effectiveness of the sanctions supposedly in place in Hawaii’s ethics law.

Ian’s inspecting a new bunch of disclosure forms, according to his post today over at It’s good that he’s doing it, but when will the Ethics Commission start doing its job on its own?

Just askin’.


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