In February 2016, the law firm Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing invited me to be a speaker at their annual retreat. I was asked to serve as a commenter on a bus tour of the Waianae Coast. The firm’s goal was to educate its employees about the challenging issues facing the Waianae Coast, and some of the positive things happening to address the challenges.
The retreat was at the Aulani Resort, and the firm invited my family and I to stay at the hotel for one night and attend the Paradise Cove Luau along with the rest of the firm during its retreat. Since I was being asked to “work,” I did not realize it would be considered a gift law violation to accept the firm’s offer.
Unfortunately I was unaware that a reporter was trying to contact me on 09/05/16 until after I saw the news story that evening. I was traveling from California to Hawaii that day returning from a Labor Day weekend trip with my family, and my phone had died by the time I got off the plane.
I have a great deal of respect for Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, which has often worked to support public interest causes. The firm did not ask me for anything other than to help educate its employees about the issues facing the Waianae Coast. I have not, and will not provide any special treatment to the firm.
I do not know which bill the reporter is referring to regarding the gifts law. I am reaching out to him to try and get more details so that I can respond appropriately.
I extremely sorry for this oversight on my part, and take full responsibility for this incident. I have paid the assessed fine, and I welcome your questions and concerns.
Here is a link to the news story:
Senator Maile Shimabukuro
(Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Ma`ili, Wai`anae, Makaha, Makua)
State Capitol, Room 222