From: ‘J.H. Snider, The Hawai`i State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse’
Sent: Monday, November 5, 2018 2:36 PM
To: Campaign Spending Commission
Subject: Violation of Hawaii law regarding advertising in today's front page print edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Dear General Counsel Kam:
Before sending this email to you, I called the Campaign Spending Commission’s phone at 808/586-0285 to make sure you were the appropriate contact person. I am filing a complaint regarding advertising on the front page, upper-right of today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser and other publications. As I understand the law, such ads require a disclaimer containing the name and address of the committee paying for the advertisement. For example, see Advisory Opinion 04-03:
The Campaign Spending Commission by this advisory opinion responds to questions that arise often in the course of an election. Section 11-215, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) provides that all advertisements, as defined under section 11-191, HRS, shall include a disclaimer containing the name and address of the candidate, committee, or party paying for the advertisement. The purpose of the disclaimer is to clearly identify to the public the person or persons behind an advertisement and where they can be contacted.
The disclaimer requirement applies to all advertisements, which includes any communication, exclusive of bumper stickers or other sundry items, that advocates for or against a candidate or ballot issue. A communication is broadly considered as published, broadcast, televised, or otherwise circulated and distributed.
I look forward to finding out what steps, if any, your office is taking to remedy this problem. Earlier today, I both emailed and called in a complaint to the Office of Elections. Since I didn’t get through on the call and didn’t hear back on the email, I thought I should reach out to you. Given that today is one day before Election Day and the ad was placed in the most prominent media location in the entire State on the most competitive ballot item in the entire State, this matter should be treated with the utmost urgency.
J.H. Snider, Ph.D.
Editor of The Hawaiʻi State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse
(J.H. Snider is the author of Who Spent What, When, and Where on the Con-Con Referendum.)