by Andrew Walden
For months the now-defunct AtomicMonkey.blogspot.com site has skewered Neil Abercrombie as a “flailing gasbag” and his wife Nancie Caraway as “a witch.” One posting portrayed former Governor Ben Cayetano as an evil scientist secretly controlling Abercrombie’s brain. Now the Hannemann campaign has admitted that this site was operated by “a campaign volunteer” who works at Honolulu Hale.
From AtomicMonkey: Ben Cayetano controlling Neil Abercrombie's disembodied brain.
Hawai`i Free Press May 19 exposed the anonymous site as an operation run by Mufi Hannemann supporters. Our expose drew an immediate response from the blogger—identifying himself under the pseudonym Bob Wiesel-- behind the site who stated: “Some of us work for the City…we proudly stand by description of Abercrombie as ‘flailing gasbag.’” Wiesel—who the hannemann campaign has now acknowledged is Keith Rollman--claimed: “Your article today implying it is a ‘Mufi’ site is incorrect. We like Hannemann, but he has no input or control over the site and as far as I know has not even seen it.”
Denizens of the comments boards on the Star-Advertiser, Ilind, Volcanic Ash, or Civil Beat will immediately recognize variants of the Bob Wiesel or BobW name—always posting in defense of Hannemann administration policy—sometimes during city work hours.
In the same message, “Bob Wiesel” claimed:
“Bob Wiesel is a pseudonym that has a long history in Honolulu and been passed around quite a bit. I am one of many Bob Wiesels...collectively we amount to a poor man's Publius. There are blog entries that go back to before 2001 still online from Robert D. Wiesel, BobW, BWiesel and every other variant that you can dream up. Some of the "Bob's" work for, or had worked for both the city and state at some point.
“Blog participation at City Hall tapered off after Dave Shapiro started publishing IP addresses in an attempt to suppress his critics. Several individuals at City Hall asked Charles Totto (ethics commission) for a reading on whether it was "against the rules" to participate during our lunch hour, breaks etc. He recommended that we play it safe and just not do it at all from the city network and it pretty much stopped at that point. Bob Wiesels live on, however, on their own time and own internet connections….
“Your comments on the Eric Ryan vs Keith Rollman dust up was interesting. I know for a fact that the fake email's attributed to Rollman (claiming to take credit for "FirePanos") were traced to John Carroll's office, that he was sharing with Eric at the time. So, I am always skeptical when Websites are attributed to him by others. We see Keith from time to time, but while sympathetic and helpful, he doesn't have much time for us. Rollman blogs openly on Hawaii Reporter and CivilBeat under his own name. We prefer anonymous silliness...it's a personal choice.”
But buried at the end of an article in today’s Star-Advertiser, is a little item which could lead to Hannemann being disqualified from holding office for the next four years:
The Hannemann campaign also confirmed yesterday that a campaign volunteer, who works as a special adviser attached to the city Department of Information Technology, was responsible for a parody website that savagely mocked Abercrombie.
Tanaka said Keith Rollman, the campaign volunteer and city adviser, created the "Atomic Monkey" website on his own time and without the campaign's approval. The website, which has been taken down, included a disclaimer stating that it was not operated or financed by Hannemann or any other candidate for public office.
"Given his volunteer status with the campaign, it was pointed out to him that this type of website could be misconstrued," Tanaka said.
A Hannemann campaign volunteer who works as “a special adviser” at Honolulu Hale allegedly produces AtomicMonkey on his own—but took it down when ordered to do so by the Hannemann campaign. This could be seen by a court as the Hannemann Committee controlling the website. If so, the website would be an illegal false name in-kind contribution to Hannemann’s campaign. The campaign would then have showed an “intent to deceive” by claiming that the site was not a Hannemann site. This is a felony under HRS 11-201 and 11-202. Conviction of a felony or misdemeanor under HRS Chapter 11 automatically renders Hannemann ineligible to serve in office for four years.
The Hannemann campaign has now launched an official campaign website titled www.TheRealNeil.org which—unlike AtomicMonkey--announces that it is “Paid for and authorized by the Hannemann Committee 2010”. The site launched by lambasting Abercrombie’s 2006 advocacy of more offshore Gulf Coast oil drilling while accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies.
On June 28, HawaiiReporter.com published a guest editorial titled “Oily Neil” by “Keith Rollman, a volunteer for the Hannemann campaign” in which Rollman made similar attacks on Abercrombie’s oil-drilling position.
Rollman’s editorial included this photo, labeled “cartoon by Keith Rollman”, which originally appeared in a May 1, 2010 AtomicMonkey posting. The article also included a link to a YouTube video used on the Atomic Monkey site.
Here are the pertinent sections of Hawaii State Law:
Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11, Part XII, Subpart B (Campaign Spending Law):
§11-201 Anonymous contributions; unlawful. (a) No person shall make an anonymous contribution of the person’s own money or property, or money of another person, to any candidate, party, or committee in connection with a nomination for election, or election. No candidate, party, or committee shall knowingly receive, accept, or retain an anonymous contribution, or enter or cause such contribution to be entered in its accounts as an anonymous contribution or in a name other than the true name of the person who actually furnished the
§11-202 False name. No person shall make a contribution of the person’s own money or property, or money or property of another person to any candidate, party, or committee in connection with a nomination for election, or election, in any name other than the true name of the person who owns the money or who supplied the money or property.
All contributions made in the name of a person other than the true or established name of the actual owner of the money or property shall escheat to the Hawaii election campaign fund. [L1979, c 224, pt of §2; gen ch 1985]
§11-229 Criminal prosecution. (a) Any person who knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly violates any provision of this subpart shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person who knowingly or intentionally falsifies any report required by this subpart with the intent to circumvent the law or deceive the commission or who violates section 11-201 or 11-202 shall be 29 March, 2010 guilty of a class C felony. A person charged with a class C felony shall not be eligible for a deferred acceptance of guilty pleas or nolo contendere pleas under chapter 853. A person who is convicted under this section shall be disqualified from holding elective public office for a period of four years from the date of conviction.”