Friday, November 28, 2014   Search

Current Articles | Archives | Search

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Akaka Bill hearings: OHA, lawyers balk at giving up nepotism, greenmail
By Andrew Walden @ 10:02 PM :: 3890 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics
 

by Andrew Walden

For years, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has expended every resource to create a Hawaiian Indian tribe. Now, with its goal finally in sight, disputes over how much of Hawaii the Akaka Tribe should grab and how quickly to grab it threaten to torpedo the entire project.

Greenmail is one of the key sticking points. The Native Hawaiian Bar Association (NHBA) argues:

“The bill’s provisions on claims and federal sovereign immunity appear to be overly broad and may prohibit lawsuits by individual Native Hawaiians for claims that could be pursued by any other member of the general population.”

NHBA lawyers seek to avoid losing the legal basis for the PASH-decision-based greenmail lawsuits, such as the Hokulia case, which have made them millions of dollars in legal fees.

Not only are they concerned about losing the right to file existing greenmail suits, but they want the Akaka Bill (HR 2314 / S. 1011) to create more causes for action.  Representing the US Department of Justice at the August 6 Senate Indian Affairs committee hearing, former Dan Inouye staffer Sam Hirsch emphasized:

“…the legislation contains provisions that specifically state that Congress does not intend to create any new legal claims against the United States. The Department supports these provisions and believes they should remain in the bill. In particular, the Department supports section 8(c) in S. 1011, which provides that nothing in the bill creates a cause of action against or waives the sovereign immunity of the United States.”

In other words, the negotiations to create the Akaka Tribe become the sole venue for resolving any claims stemming from passage of the Akaka Bill.

But Robin Danner of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) disagrees. In her Senate Committee testimony she demanded 8(c) be replaced with language stating:

“Nothing in this Act is intended to serve as a settlement of any claims against the United States or the State of Hawaii.”

Given the pliant attitude of the Hawaii State Judiciary and Honolulu's Federal Courts, the risk of the Akaka Bill creating new causes for action, just as the 1993 Apology Resolution did, should not be underestimated.  Likewise one should not overestimate the value of any concessions made by the OHA gang.

In addition to continuing and expanding their lucrative greenmail industry, the would-be founders of the Akaka Tribe may also be seeking their own tribal jurisdiction. A tribal jurisdiction could be exempt from State law and many federal laws.  It could easily become a legal shield for future corrupt trustees to protect their activities investigation or prosecution by the State Attorney General.  In fact the corrupt Broken Trust trustees in 1995 commissioned ex-Governor John Waihe`e to study relocation of Bishop Estate.  Waihe`e’s proposal?  Relocate Bishop Estate to the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation—the most “sovereign” of all US Indian Reservations.

Testifying before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee Micah Kane, outgoing Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, and a newly selected Trustee of Kamehameha Schools, did not directly address the dispute over amendments but he did choose to explain:

“Because of our unique legal history, the Hawaiian Homes Commission exercises certain authority over Hawaiian home lands, subject to state and federal law, similar to that being proposed under S. 1011….

“The State and Counties exercise criminal and civil jurisdiction on Hawaiian home lands….and the Commission cannot levy taxes over Hawaiian home lands.” (emphasis added)

The DoJ's Hirsch added:

“The Department also supports the bill’s civil rights protections. Section 7(c)(2)(B)(iii)(I)(cc) and section 7(c)(4)(A)(vi) require the native Hawaiians governing entity, in its constitution or other organic governing document, to expressly protect the civil rights of Native Hawaiians and all persons affected by the governing entity’s exercise of its governmental powers and authorities.”

Why did Kane and Hirsch feel the need to assert this?  Should their testimonies be seen jointly as reflecting the views of some or all of the current KS Trustees, DHHL, Senator Inouye, Governor Linda Lingle, and President Obama's US DoJ?   Do the conflicting views presented before the Committee reflect a discussion which is going on outside of public view?

A clue comes from Robin Danner of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) who asks for removal of S 1011 Section 9(e), which reads:

“Nothing in the Act alters the criminal or civil jurisdiction of the United States or the State of Hawaii over lands and persons within the State of Hawaii. The status quo of Federal and State jurisdiction can only change as a result of further legislation, if any, enacted after the conclusion, in relevant part, of the negotiation process established in section 8(b).”

In its place Danner wants language which immediately vests “the Native Hawaiian government…with the inherent powers and privileges of a native government….”  Her demand comes in spite of the fact that S. 1011 creates a mechanism for the negotiated creation of a Native Hawaiian Government, rather than creating the government itself.

Danner’s demand contrasts with Kane’s testimony:

“Amendments to the trust document, the Hawaiian Home Commission Act, requires State legislative approval and in some instances, Congressional consent.”

Also related to the jurisdictional issue, Kane emphasizes:

“Hawaiian Home Lands cannot be sold, except by land exchanges upon the approval of the United States Secretary of the Interior.”

OHA takes a different line. In her June 11, 2009 House Committee Testimony, OHA Chair Haunani Apoliona explains:

“We don't seek to have our lands held in trust by the United States or the State of Hawai`i, or to have our assets managed by the Federal or State governments.”

OHA has already transferred OHA lands such as Waimea Valley, O`ahu to the management of Hi`ilae Aloha, an OHA-owned Limited Liability Corporation. OHA unsuccessfully sought transfer of large portions of Moloka`i Ranch to another LLC connected to OHA Trustee Collette Machado. In recent legislative debates over possible Ceded Lands revenues settlements, Hawaiian activists have sharply questioned OHA’s land management practices, nepotism, transparency, and accountability. Avoidance of a US trust over the lands of a future Akaka Tribe would increase the opportunity for tribal insiders to continue OHA’s practices.

The US House Committee on Natural Resources canceled its July 9 “markup” vote on HR 2314, the House version of the Akaka Bill apparently due to the unresolved disputes over amendments. The US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs likely intends to vote on the S 1011 version of the Akaka Bill in September. Failure to come to agreement on the amendments could block the Senate Committee vote as it has in the House.

Is the Akaka Tribe worth more to the OHA gang than greenmail and corruption?  We will soon find out.

---30---

RELATED: Akaka Bill Reading List

Transcripts: Hawaii 50th Anniversary of Statehood Conference

Hawaii Statehood: Tiny 1959 opposition was anti-Japanese, not anti-American

Akaka Bill hearings: OHA, lawyers balk at giving up nepotism, greenmail

Akaka Bill postponed: Dems balk at OHA cronies' demands for more loot

Sovereignty Farce: "Birther" "Truther" drug dealer on trial for Iolani assault, kidnapper sought by police

Prince Kuhio: The bridge from Kingdom to State

Our American Triumph: Civil Rights and Hawaii Statehood

Comments
LINKS:

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

ARCHIVES: Daily News Read

ARCHIVES: HawaiiFreePress

JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST

RSS FEED Latest 25 articles

TWITTER HawaiiFreePress

SoundCloud HawaiiFreePress

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

ABCDEF Group Samoa

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Conservative Alliance

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Chapter MOAA

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

Angelaisms

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A'ole Eradication

A Place for Women in Waipio

Atomic Monkey

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Catholic Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Choice is an Illusion

Christian Home Educators of Maui

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Concerned Women For America Hawaii

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

Danny DeGracia Blog

December 7 Battlefields at risk

DefendOurKeiki.com

DVids Hawaii

Education Institute of Hawaii

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Friends of Lanai

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

GoGoGMO!

Grassroot Blog

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hadassah Hawaii

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Concealed Carry

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federated Republican Women's Association

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Knights of Columbus

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

HawaiiReporter.com

Hawaii Republicans for Life

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Senate Informer

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Tropical Fish Association

Hawaii Votes

Hepsy's Kuleana

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIRA

Hiram Fong Papers

History Education Hawaii

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Alliance

Honolulu College Republicans

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu TEA Party

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Aloha Molokai

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Israel Day Hawaii

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kahua Group

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Kona TEA Party

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Let's Lose LOST

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Minority Caucus YouTube

Missile Defense Advocacy

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

Native Hawaiian Grants Project

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

No Hawaii Beverage Tax

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

OHA Lies

Ohana Policy Group

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Patriot Voices Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

Perry and Price Show

Pritchett Cartoons

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

Rightly POV

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Hanalei Ridge

Save Our Doctors Hawaii

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

Senate Minority Blog

SenatorFong.com

SGLF

SIFE BYUH

SIFE HPU

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

Smart Business Hawaii

St Damien

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Stop SB2424

Stop the Maui Farming Ban

Student Veterans Oahu and Kauai

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

TEA Party Maui

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

The Verifiable Truth

The Voice of Kapolei

Tim Lussier HuffPo Hawaii

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

United Veterans Hawaii

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

USO Hawaii

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Vote No 113

Waagey.org

WAPNFFS

Watchdog Hawaii

Watchdog Wire

West Maui Taxpayers Association

YAL UH Hilo


Maui TEA Party
Maui TEA Party