Law Partner of Sen. Akaka's Campaign Manager Wields Deceptive Email Attack on Primary Opponent Ed Case
Memo Focusing on Hawaiian Political Issues Has Many Inaccuracies
by Andrew Walden (Originally published August 7, 2006 in Hawai`i Free Press)
Congressman Ed Case, challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka for the Democratic Senatorial nomination, hammers Akaka on the failure of his namesake Akaka Bill. Case tells audiences, “Whether one agreed or disagreed with the Akaka bill, its defeat demonstrated a failure of ability on the floor of the U.S. Senate.”
A July 26 memo now circulating by email to thousands of Kamehameha Schools alumni and other native Hawaiians questions Case’s record on Hawaiian entitlements. The memo is authored by William Meheula, a law partner of Andy Winer. Winer is Akaka’s Campaign manager.
Winer played a role in the carefully timed announcement of Rep. Patsy Mink’s (D-HI) 2002 death and also administered a now-defunct Web site, www.LingleFacts.com, attacking Linda Lingle during the 2002 Governor’s race. Winer was also responsible for several written attacks against Hawaii Reporter during the mayoral race of 2004, when he headed the Duke Bainum campaign. Meheula’s memo makes no mention of his close association to the Akaka Campaign.
Meheula’s memo says:
“In the late 1990s, when Ed Case was chairman of the State House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, he repeatedly acted to reduce Native Hawaiian benefits, rights and revenues…. In the 1998 legislative session, Mr. Case proposed the 123-page ‘Native Hawaiian Autonomy Act.’ The Act would have terminated OHA and the Hawaiian Home Lands program, denied Native Hawaiians the right to self-determination and federal recognition, and reduced State liabilities to Native Hawaiians. The Act stated that its purpose is to stop the ‘continued dependence by native Hawaiians on others which prevents the development of the full potential of the native Hawaiian people.’”
The claim that Case’s bill would have “terminated OHA and the Hawaiian Home Lands” is false in all but the most technical sense. The bill would have “terminated” them as State of Hawaii departments by transferring them into a single Native Hawaiian Trust Corporation—something like a state-recognized version of an Alaskan Native Corporation.
Meheula tries to paint Case as being in the same boat with those who would eliminate all Hawaiian programs. Meheula writes:
“Richard Rowland, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said they oppose special treatment of Hawaiians because “such efforts would perpetuate a counter-productive 'dependency mentality.'” H. William Burgess, of Aloha for All, said those who support Hawaiians-only programs "have some vested interest in keeping Hawaiians in a state of dependency." Mr. Case's Act shows that his attitude towards Native Hawaiians is similar to two groups that vehemently oppose most Native Hawaiian programs.”
This is simply not true. Case’s 1998 bill would not have abolished Hawaiian programs -- it would have protected these programs within the Trust Corporation. Unlike Burgess and Rowland who speak of individuals being dependent, Case is referring to Hawaiians as a group being dependent on the state legislature and federal government as opposed to having their own independent Trust Corporation with its own assets. Meheula is playing word games.
“Mr. Case wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration to encourage the expedition of its decision that payments to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from airport revenues violate federal law.”
Deceptive: Asking for an expedited decision is different than advocating the FAA rule against the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Meheula decries Case’s support for Act 329 in 1997 which was designed to limit ceded lands liability by the state. The bill passed and the State entered negotiations with OHA over the ceded lands issue. While Meheula points the finger at Case, here’s a telling quote from the Sept. 23, 2001, Honolulu Star-Bulletin about what really happened to ceded lands and their revenue:
“On March 31,1999, the state offered OHA $251.3 million and one-fifth of the state's ceded lands to end the dispute. OHA countered on April 1, 1999, with a $309.5 million offer. On April 16, 1999, OHA made its final offer to state negotiators to settle for $304.6 million and any lands, with a revenue stream of $7.4 million.
“The state never responded to either of OHA's counteroffers.
“(Clayton) Hee, in hindsight, said last week OHA should have taken the state's final offer as a ‘bird in the hand.’ If it did, OHA's native Hawaiian trust could be worth close to $1 billion today, and OHA would have a land trust about three times the size of Molokai and bigger than that of Kamehameha Schools.”
Given the company Meheula keeps, it is little surprise his memo is so full of misrepresentations.
TEXT of Meheula Memo:
ED CASE'S WORK ON LEGISLATION CONCERNING HAWAIIANS
In the late 1990s, when Ed Case was chairman of the State House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, he repeatedly acted to reduce Native Hawaiian benefits, rights and revenues.
In April 1997, Mr. Case wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration to encourage the expedition of its decision that payments to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from airport revenues violate federal law. He told the FAA that he needed its ruling as soon as possible because "the state legislature is deeply engaged in deliberations on a highly complex bill which seeks to resolve all controversies and mitigate state liability." The bill he references was Act 329, which was introduced to limit the State's liability and accountability to Native Hawaiians. Four days later the FAA issued its decision that ultimately led to the demise of Act 304 (1990), the law that defined OHA's right to revenue from ceded lands.
In lobbying for Act 329, Mr. Case said that he supported the legislation as it might serve to overrule Judge Daniel Heely's June 1996 decision in favor of OHA. Mr. Case's reasoning was that Judge Heely's decision may cost the State $1 billion and damage the State's bond ruling. Mr. Case did not consider OHA's constitutional right to have this matter decided by the Courts.
Mr. Case also argued that Act 329 might serve to overturn a second decision by Judge Heely, that the State should not sell ceded lands at Leiali’i on Maui and at Kealakehe on the Big Island until the Hawaiians' claim to ceded lands was resolved. Mr. Case argued that the State had already spent $50 million on infrastructure for those two sites to be used for single-family dwellings. Mr. Case ignored the fact that 1993 Apology Resolution stated that Native Hawaiians have a claim to the ceded lands based on the United States' role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
In the 1998 legislative session, Mr. Case proposed the 123-page "Native Hawaiian Autonomy Act." The Act would have terminated OHA and the Hawaiian Home Lands program, denied Native Hawaiians the right to self-determination and federal recognition, and reduced State liabilities to Native Hawaiians. The Act stated that its purpose is to stop the "continued dependence by native Hawaiians on others which prevents the development of the full potential of the native Hawaiian people."
Richard Rowland, of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said they oppose special treatment of Hawaiians because "such efforts would perpetuate a counter-productive 'dependency mentality.'" H. William Burgess, of Aloha for All, said those who support Hawaiians-only programs "have some vested interest in keeping Hawaiians in a state of dependency." Mr. Case's Act shows that his attitude towards Native Hawaiians is similar to two groups that vehemently oppose most Native Hawaiian programs.
The Case proposed Native Hawaiian Autonomy Act resulted in a Native Hawaiian rally and a 24-hour Capitol vigil. Those who openingly (sic) expressed opposition to the Act included Kinau Boyd Kamalii, Randy Iwase, Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell, Sr., Kekuni Blaisdell, Frenchy DeSoto, and Mahealani Kamaunu [sic, Kamau'u]. Ms. Kamaunu stated in a Honolulu Star-Bulletin op-ed on Jan. 23, 1998:
"In his latest proposal, Rep. Case takes deadly aim, at point-blank range, against Hawaiians. He seeks once and for all to rid the state of all of its trust obligations to Hawaiians. The bill is patronizing and mean to the extreme. Case has taken it upon himself to solve what he characterizes as the Hawaiian "problem" by approaching it like an abusive parent approaches his child."
The Act died due to overwhelming opposition.
Mr. Case tries to hide his true motives but they are clearly demonstrated by his past acts to dismantle Native Hawaiian programs, rights and revenues.
July 26, 2006
Aug. 2 Letter to the Editor of Maui News, which reflects the line of the Meheula memo: http://www.mauinews.com/story.aspx?id=22066
Andy Winer / Patsy Mink: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?34a8f056-9b68-4e1d-82f9-3354eb81fb29
Andy Winer / Linda Lingle: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?c7080c3c-5e74-4ba5-8346-864531666015
Honolulu Star-Bulletin: http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/23/news/story5.html