Honolulu Advertiser reports that the Campaign Spending Commission has referred complaints against Pacific Resources Partnership (PRP) to the Honolulu prosecutor for possible felony charges.
PRP and Forward Progress are bankrolled by Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund (HCMRPF) and John White runs all three of them. This relationship appears to have allowed for some Three Card Monte on reporting both contributions and expenditures.
‘Gov. Cayatano argued that White and PRP had shown “a pattern of disrespect and contempt” for campaign spending laws.’
The Advertiser article primarily focuses on two complaints. Gov. Ben Cayatano’s complaint contended that PRP began scheming to defeat his campaign for Honolulu mayor prior to filing their PAC papers and did not report substantial expenditures. A second complaint brought forth by Campaign Spending Commission executive director alleges more payments that were not reported. Even more charges are on their way according to the Advertiser:
A third complaint filed last week by commission staff against PRP was deferred until next month, to give attorneys additional time to review it.
“We were concerned that the issue was arising under repetitive circumstances — that it wasn’t just one case, but we have two or three on the docket,” G. William Snipes, commission chairman, said after the meeting. “We were concerned that they were repetitive, that they were substantial sums of money involved and we thought it warranted further investigation.”
An allegation similar similar to Gov Cayatono’s comes from Maui where 18 months after it ended operations, a PRP contribution appears on Forward Progress backed Maui County Council candidate Ka’ala Buenconsejo‘s.
Buenconsejo reported a contribution of $1,712.51 from PRP for “Campaign Consulting” on 06/30/2014 – 18 months after PRP supposedly disbanded in January 2013.
Since Forward Progress, PRP, and HCMRPF are all run by the same person, John White, one wonders who exactly paid for Buenconsejo’s “campaign consulting”. Forward Progress? If so, that is most certainly proof positive of illegal coordination.
Forward Progress poured approximately $377,000* into the Buenconsejo in an unsuccessfully attempt to take down Sierra Club backed incumbent, Elle Cochran. Their campaign included radio ads, a blizzard of mailers and a smear campaign against Cochran.
The PRP, Forward Progress, HCMRPF hui seems to be created to circumvent campaign finance laws.
*Note: Calculated by adding expenses attributed to Buenconsejo plus one-third expenses attributed to Buenconsejo and two other candidates plus one-half contributions attributed to Buenconsejo and one other candidate plus unattributed expenses that could be reasonably attributed to Buenconsejo.>