Hawaii lawmakers push forward campaign finance reforms
HONOLULU, Hawaii: The House Judiciary Committee approved two bills on March 12 reforming campaign finance reporting requirements in the state. The Campaign Spending Commission has supported the bills and says they will increase transparency. The proposals, introduced by Rep. Chris Lee and six others, had the support of the Attorney General’s office, the Campaign Spending Commission,c and numerous outside groups combating the Citizens United decision.
House Bill 1147 would require non-candidate committees to identify top contributors in campaign ads, and would also work to improve the disclosure of corporations that donate to political candidates and makes other changes in Hawaii’s campaign finance laws to boost transparency.
The Committee also approved a bill on March 12th to adjust a Big Island pilot project for publicly funded campaigns to equalize the amount of money candidates receive. Sen. Russell Ruderman, a proponent of the bill, says the bill will increase the program's appeal.
The program is estimated to cost taxpayers about $2.5 million a year. Rep. Marcus Oshiro said the program's cost is one of the reasons he voted against the measure, elaborating that his greatest concern is the concept of using taxpayer money to fund candidates whose views people may find objectionable, such as a member of an extremist organization or someone who doesn't recognize Native Hawaiian rights.
Rather than create a public funding program, Oshiro and other opponents have argued that the Legislature should increase financial disclosure requirements for corporations and unions that advocate for candidates. He says improving transparency is the best path for lawmakers in the wake of the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates for corporate funding of campaigns.
- News: Hawaii Civil Beat, "Bill to Boost Disclosure of Campaign Spending Advances" (dead link)
- News: The Republic, "Hawaii lawmakers push forward campaign finance reforms, mull publicly funded state campaigns"
- House Bill 1147
- News: Star Advertiser, "State lawmakers debate campaign finance reforms"
- The Republic, "Hawaii lawmakers push forward campaign finance reforms, mull publicly funded state campaigns" accessed March 27, 2013
- Hawaii Civil Beat, "Bill to Boost Disclosure of Campaign Spending Advances" accessed March 27, 2013 (dead link)
- North Jersey, "Hawaii lawmakers debate campaign finance reforms" accessed March 27, 2013 (dead link)