by Andrew Walden
OHA may dispute it, but the Na'i Aupuni 'Aha Delegate election is a State of Hawaii election being run illegally by an OHA contractor in violation of Rice v Cayetano and also the Hawaii State Constitution Article 4, Section 3 which requires that all State of Hawaii elections be overseen by the Chief Elections Officer.
Because the 'Aha is a State election, three candidates are in violation of the Hawaii Resign to Run Law codified in Article 2, Section 7 of the Hawaii State Constitution which reads:
Any elected public officer shall resign from that office before being eligible as a candidate for another public office, if the term of the office sought begins before the end of the term of the office held.
The three candidates for immediate resignation are:
- OHA Trustee Rowena Akana
- Sen Brickwood Galuteria
- Rep Kaniela Ing
According to Na'i Aupuni, the term of office for Aha delegates is "Between February and April 2016: ‘Aha held on Oahu over the course of eight consecutive weeks (40 work days, Monday through Friday)."
In addition to violating the Resign to Run law, another section of the Hawaii State Constitution, Article 3, Section 8, flatly states:
"No member of the legislature shall hold any other public office under the State...."
If elected to the 'Aha, this would ensnare both Galuteria and Ing.
The State Constitution does not prescribe punishment for violators such as Galuteria and Ing, but Article 3, Section 8 is helpfully titled "Disqualifications of Members." Are they planning to ignore the resign to run law only to resign from the Legislature if elected to the 'Aha? The 'Aha schedule covers most of the upcoming Legislative session.
They are not alone. An Hawaii Attorney General opinion holds that one cannot "simultaneously retain his position as a public officer and serve as a trustee for OHA."
Rowena Akana's candidacy flaunts both the AG opinion and OHA's pledge to not interfere in the 'Aha.
Additionally, members of the Kanaiolowalu Roll Commission are, of course, public officers of the State of Hawaii. In spite of this, they are now seeking to hold additional State of Hawaii public offices as 'Aha delegates. These include three 'Aha candidates:
- Naalehu Anthony
- Lei Kihoi
- Clyde Namuo (executive director of Roll Commission)
Background: Nai Aupuni Candidate List Released