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    February 2017
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Hawaii State Legislative Candidate Charged for Distribution of Unauthorized Mailers

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that Eric H. L. Ching, a candidate in 2016 for the state house of representatives district 31 seat (Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge), was charged yesterday with two misdemeanors for sending mailers without identifying the individual or organization that had paid for it. Incumbent state representative Aaron Ling Johanson defeated Ching in the general election.

Click to read the complaint

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission required Ching to pay a civil penalty of $25 on four previous violations. After repeatedly being warned to follow the same campaign law related to advertisements. Ching sent two more mailers that lacked the required disclaimers. The Commission only referred the matter to the Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution after the fourth civil fine was assessed.

Ching is now charged with two counts of Unauthorized Advertisements, in violation of sections 11-391(a)(1) and 11-412(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. The maximum penalty for each count is a $2,000.00 fine and up to one year in jail.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Campaign laws keep Hawaii elections fair and transparent.”

Application Deadline to Serve on State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council is extending the deadline in its search to find qualified applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission created by a term expiring on June 30, 2015. The council is also extending its deadline in its search to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Campaign Spending Commissions. The new application deadline is March 31, 2015.

JudiciaryMembers of both commissions serve on a voluntary basis. Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island commissioners to attend meetings on Oahu will be reimbursed.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawaii, and may not hold any other public office.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct). The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission. The Hawaii State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission “from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.”

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures. Commissioners may not participate in political campaigns or contribute to candidates or political committees.

The Governor will select the commissioners from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Council.

Interested persons should submit an application along with a resume and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2015. to: Judicial Council, Hawaii Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2902.

Applications are available on the Hawaii State Judiciary website or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Launches a New Data Visualization App

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission (Commission) launched a new data visualization application on its website, which will permit anyone to see how candidates running for state and county offices are spending their campaign funds and who is contributing to their campaign.

Click to view Mayor Kenoi's Data

Click to view Mayor Kenoi’s Data

In partnership with the state’s Office of Information Management and Technology, the state’s Information & Communication Services Division, and Socrata, the Commission unveiled its newest tool today at the 2013 Hawaii Digital Government Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

This new application is available on the Commission’s website at www.hawaii.gov/campaign. Highlights of the new application include a pie chart with detailed information on:

  • Candidate contributions and expenditures
  • Percentage of how contributions are funded (by individuals, non-candidate committees, political parties, immediate family members, etc)
  • Percentage of candidate contributions received from in-state versus out-of-state
  • Percentage with states and zip codes, as well as by geographical location.
  • A visual chart showing how amount and percentage of candidate contributions that are more or less than $1,000. 

The data is derived from the candidates’ reports, which are filed electronically with the Commission from the last 6-years.

This application was conceived to provide greater transparency and accountability in government and enable the public to follow the financial transactions of candidates running for state and county offices in Hawaii.  “We are very excited to offer this application to the public and hope that it will generate interest and citizen engagement especially as we enter into the 2014 election,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao.