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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Senate overrides veto of "pay-to-play" campaign financing
By News Release @ 5:53 PM :: 4266 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

by Sen. Les Ihara, Jr. (D-Kaimuki) (floor speech July 15, 2009 Special Session)

I am opposed to the override of HB128.

With all due respect to the Hawaii Senate majority, I must oppose the veto override of this campaign finance bill.

I join Hawaii’s good government groups in supporting the veto of HB128 in its current form.

We believe those seeking elected public office in Hawaii should aspire to high ethical standards reflected in state campaign finance laws. However, I believe HB128 lowers standards already in place.

Instead of closing the pay-to-play loophole that allows donations from grant-in-aid contractors, HB128 allows all but non-bid contractors to make campaign donations.

Instead of further limiting "seeding-the-community" donations to non-profits, HB128 doubles the allowable amount.

HB128 also eliminated the Declaration of Policy for the state’s campaign finance law. The deleted policy stated: “The purpose of this part is to ensure the integrity and transparency of the campaign finance process. Integrity is essential to promote the public’s confidence in government. Transparency provides disclosure of contributions and expenditures to ensure the public is fully informed.”

I support the re-codification language contained in this bill, but cannot support a retreat from existing ethical standards for campaign finance.

I ask that the veto of this bill be sustained.

Sen. Les Ihara, Jr., D-Kaimuki, can be reached at senihara@Capitol.hawaii.gov

NOTE: The Senate today voted to override the Governor's veto of HB128 by 22 to 3. Opposing: Senators Ihara (D-Kaimuki), Sam Slom (R-Hawaii Kai) and Fred Hemmings (R- Kaneohe).

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