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Thursday, February 9, 2017
Hawaii State Ethics Commission 2016 Annual Report
By News Release @ 1:49 PM :: 3544 Views :: Ethics

Hawaii State Ethics Commission 2016 Annual Report

From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, February, 2017

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the State Ethics Code and the State Lobbyists Law, chapters 84 and 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”), respectively. The State Ethics Code includes laws relating to the acceptance and reporting of gifts, confidential information, “fair treatment” (or the prohibited misuse of official position), conflicts of interests, state contracts, and post-employment restrictions. The State Ethics Code also includes a provision requiring the reporting of financial interests by state legislators, state employees, and candidates for state elective office. The State Lobbyists Law, which applies to lobbying activities at the state level, requires lobbyists to register with the Commission and requires lobbyists and organizations that lobby to report lobbying expenditures and contributions on forms filed with the Commission.

Much of the Commission’s work is focused on education and advice. The Commission strongly encourages state officials, lobbyists, and the public to contact its office for confidential advice; indeed, the Commission responded to more than 1,400 requests for advice in 2016. Similarly, the Commission encourages state agencies to request ethics training from the Commission, and in 2016, the Commission’s staff trained more than 1,500 individuals on the Ethics Code and Lobbyists Law.

The Commission has five members who are nominated by the State Judicial Council and appointed by the Governor for four-year terms. The current members of the Commission are Susan DeGuzman (Chairperson), David O’Neal (Vice Chairperson), Ruth Tschumy, Melinda Wood, and Reynaldo Graulty.

The Commission currently employs a staff of eleven: an executive director and an associate director; four staff attorneys; a computer specialist; a part-time investigator; and three secretarial staff. Despite the small size of the agency and other limited resources, the Commission’s responsibilities are extensive.

For purposes of the State Ethics Code, the Commission has jurisdiction over more than 50,000 state officials and employees. This includes state legislators and other elected state officials, employees of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government (with the exception of judges and justices), and members of all state boards and commissions. The State Ethics Code’s financial disclosure law also applies to all candidates for state elective office. The Commission also administers the State Lobbyists Law, chapter 97; in that capacity, the Commission has jurisdiction over approximately 450 lobbyists and nearly 400 organizations that lobby the state legislature or executive branch.

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