Tuesday, February 10, 2015
More to say about Say-complaint to be heard Wednesday by the Campaign Spending Commission
by Larry Geller
Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission will hear a complaint tomorrow that raises a number of issues aside from former Speaker of the House Calvin Say’s alleged improper use of campaign funds to pay his personal legal fees. Sayincurred legal expenses in defending against court challenges to his qualifications to hold office. According to the complaint, Nancy E. McGee vs. Calvin Say and Friends of Calvin Say, personal uses of campaign funds are not permitted by Hawai'i law.
There is a side issue that may or may not be raised directly at the hearing—was powerful legislator Calvin Say afforded special protection by the Commission, through the action of its attorney in blocking McGee’s complaint last year?
A letter to the Commission on the subject of the complaint also alleges actions by the Commission’s attorney that appear to have circumvented the Commission’s own rules for handling complaints.
Specifically, as noted on pages 3 and 4 of attorney Lance Collins’ letter, the Commission's attorney wrote a private letter to Say’s attorneys that was allegedly not authorized by any administrative rules (page 3), and that the attorney later dismissed McGee’s complaint against Say based on that private letter. Here’s the footnote on page 4 in its entirety:
Ms. McGee also notes her troubles to the Commission that although she had filed a complaint on the form furnished by the Commission, Mr. Kam summarily dismissed her complaint on the basis of his private June 18, 2014 letter to Mr. Say's attorney. It was only when she objected to this procedure in writing on November 20, 2014 was the matter scheduled before the Commission. It appears from the circumstances in this case that there are several customs and practices related to complaints and investigations properly before the Commission that directly affect the public that are not being handled pursuant to properly promulgated administrative rules. It behooves the Commission to investigate these informal practices and decide either to end such practices or to adopt them lawfully pursuant to Chapter 91, HRS.
Nancy McGee’s letter to the Commission on that subject is attached to Collins’ letter to the Commission.
The only thing on the agenda prior to this matter is approval of the minutes, so anyone interested in following the trail of complaints against Say should not have to wait long at the hearing. In the meantime, the letter contains some background information. There are other submissions related to the complaint besides this letter, amounting to almost 200 additional pages.