Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Monday, July 22, 2019
Ethics: Wanna Buy Some State Land? -- Hire a Legislator, Its Legal!
By News Release @ 9:04 PM :: 3349 Views :: Ethics


From Hawaii State Ethics Commission, June 20, 2019 (excerpts)

A legislator requested an Advisory Opinion from the State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) as to whether the State Ethics Code, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) Chapter 84, permits the legislator to represent a private client in submitting an offer to purchase state property from a state agency (“Agency A”).

As discussed below, the State Ethics Code does not prohibit the legislator – in the legislator’s private capacity – from representing a private client in an attempted purchase of state property from Agency A. That said, the Commission offers additional guidance to ensure that the legislator continues to maintain the high (sic) standards of ethical conduct required of legislators.


Agency A has owned the property at issue (“Property”) for several years and has been interested in selling the Property for some time.

Agency A recently hired a third-party private company to market the Property, solicit bids, and present offers (with a recommendation on which offer to accept) to Agency A. Although Agency A will make the final determination on which offer to accept, Agency A’s Director described the proposed transaction as “arms-length” because the third-party company is handling virtually all aspects of the sale – including recommending which offer to accept.

In the legislator’s private capacity, the legislator works on a sales commission basis for a company that represents clients in various transactions. Before Agency A or its third-party private company made a formal announcement about the sale of the Property, word that the Property might be offered for sale began to spread among the business community. The legislator heard about the potential offer of sale through the legislator’s professional network – not through the legislator’s work as a legislator – and the legislator contacted Agency A’s Director to get more information. In a brief telephone call, Agency A’s Director referred the legislator to the third-party private company, which in turn provided the legislator with information about the sale.

Agency A’s Director confirmed that the legislator was not given any confidential information about the sale, nor was the legislator given any special treatment because of the legislator’s state position. Instead, Agency A’s Director simply referred the legislator to the third-party private company for more information – the same action Agency A’s Director would have taken for anyone who inquired about the sale of the Property.

Legislators vote on bills to appropriate funds to state agencies, including Agency A. However, the legislator does not have any more specific dealings with Agency A as a legislator and does not have significant oversight authority over Agency A beyond the legislator’s ability to vote on the budget bill. Similarly, the legislator was not aware of having taken any legislative action affecting the Property or the sale thereof.

The legislator requested guidance from the Commission to ensure that there would be no concerns under the State Ethics Code if the legislator represented a private client in submitting an offer to purchase the Property and if Agency A decided to accept the legislator’s client’s offer.


The issue before the Commission is whether the State Ethics Code prohibits the legislator from representing a private client in a transaction to purchase state property. As discussed more fully below, the Commission concludes that, under the circumstances described herein, the Ethics Code does not prohibit this.

IV. CONCLUSION For the reasons discussed above, the Commission believes that the legislator is not prohibited from representing a private client seeking to purchase the Property from Agency A. The Commission thanked the legislator for seeking guidance on this issue. …

read … Full Report

2014: Kakaako: How to Buy Hawaii State Senators--Legally


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii