Brower Challenger Urges Ethics Commission to Ban Sledgehammers
News Release from Grace for Waikiki Campaign
Janet Grace, Republican challenger to HD22 State Representative Tom Brower, today called on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, to ban the use of legislative office funds to purchase sledgehammers and other weapons or instruments that could be used to bring harm to property or individuals.
“Representative Brower abused the power of his position last year by using legislative office funds to purchase a sledgehammer which he subsequently used in raids to destroy shopping carts used by the homeless in Waikiki.
It was not until the media revealed that he used government money to buy the sledgehammer and charged it under “office supplies” that Brower admitted his deception and “purchased” his weapon back from the State of Hawaii (according to KHON2 News reporter Gina Mangieri in her May 12, 2014 report.)
Brower’s attacks raise an even larger issue: In the absence of clear rules prohibiting use of State funds for the purchase of weapons by legislators, the State of Hawaii has potential legal liability for damages to persons and property as the result of criminal acts committed by rogue legislators using items, like sledgehammers, purchased through their office accounts.
The Ethics Commission should act decisively today to reform existing regulations by delineating clearly what expenses can be covered by Legislative office funds. This is the only way to protect the citizens of Hawaii and stop the abuse of public trust by officials such as Representative Brower.”
Janet Grace is a home health care professional, a member of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board and a founder of two non-profit organizations serving homeless and disadvantaged youth.
The June 18, 2014 State Ethics Commission is Meeting at 10:00 a.m. in the American Savings Bank Tower, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 970, will consider whether to issue ethics guidance to State legislators regarding the use of their annual legislative allowance. Information on written and in-person testimony can be found at: http://ethics.hawaii.gov/main/legallowance/
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Chairman Saiki Statement on Ethics Commission Hearings
News Release from Hawaii Republican Party June 18, 2014
HONOLULU – As the state Ethics Commission holds a hearing to discuss Hawaii legislators misusing annual legislative allowances, the State Chair of the Hawaii Republican Party, Pat Saiki released the following statement:
“Is this the point that we have come to – that our representatives, civil servants whom the people of Hawaii have invested their trust in, have to be told specifically how to not waste taxpayer dollars?
Our representatives are supposed to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. If they want to buy garlic salt, hand towels or area rugs then perhaps they should do what most people in Hawaii do – use their own hard earned dollars.
Most people in Hawaii are working two jobs just to make ends meet, while their representatives vote to increase their salaries and their ‘allowances’ for which taxpayers foot the $1 million bill.
In less than ten years time, they have more than doubled these allowances.”
Among the worst offenders was Representative Tom Brower, who used taxpayer dollars to purchase his infamous sledgehammer, which he later used to harass homeless people and destroy their belongings in Waikiki.
Donna Mercado Kim, now hoping to run against Republican Charles Djou in the first Congressional district, used her funds to buy state of the art iPad mini and Microsoft surface tablet, totaling nearly $3,000.
Republican Senator Sam Slom has not used any of these funds and returns the money to the state each year.
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