Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Civil Beat reports more fund raisers during session

by Larry Geller

I’m glad Civil Beat is on this, so I can do something else.

No matter how many times I (or they) report on fund raisers during session, it seems to make no difference. Each session, this happens over and over again. I know I’m banging my head against the wall.

I’m glad to see that someone else is willing to do it and can get paid for the effort as well. Clearly, our daily newspaper, which profits from candidate’s advertising, is just not into this sort of reporting.

In Hawaii Legislature in Session? Time to Raise Campaign Money! (Civil Beat, 3/18/2015) Chad Blair reports that 

Sylvia Luke (chairwoman of House Finance, which crafts the budget), Scott Nishimoto (chairman of Legislative Management and vice chairman of Finance), Mark Nakashima (chairman of Labor and Public Employment) and Aaron Ling Johanson will hold a joint fundraiser this evening.

Each is asking for $100 suggested contribution.

Now, Luke, Nishimoto and Johansen each represent districts on Oahu. Their constituents could, theoretically, attend the fundraiser and contribute. But Nakashima represents Hamakua, North and South Hilo. That’s a long swim just to drop a few coins into the hat.

As I’m fond of pointing out, when a fundraiser is aimed at lobbyists, corporations and special interests, the public is not well served. And when the fundraiser is held during session, it raises ethical concerns because matters that these folks may be lobbying for could come before the legislators tonight holding their hands out.

For any of the lobbyists or corporations who attend, $100 is a very reasonable investment in a legislator. Lobbyists are not philanthropists—they expect something in return.

I wish there could be a cadre of “shadows” who would track these things—along with legislative votes and other activities (good, bad, positive, negative, whatever) of each and every legislator. This would be compiled onto a website so that come election time, voters could be reminded of what “their” representative has done—for them, or for others. To do this would be a tremendous effort, but could help bring democracy to Hawaii.


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