Complaints filed against Forward Progress and its donor PAC

In our last article on the superPAC Forward Progress we were attempting to trace the ultimate source of their money. Forward Progress has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into local council races on the Big Island and Maui.

According to the Campaign Spending Committee, Forward Progress’ donor, Hawaii Carpenters Recovery Market Fund told them their funding comes from developers and construction companies.  Despite the name “Carpenters”, the money does not come from union membership dues but rather the companies which employ carpenters.

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Hawai'i Campaign Commission goes along with cover-up

In a typically cozy Hawai’i fashion, the Hawai’i Campaign Commission has given the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund a pass on disclosing where its contributions come from.  According to state law noncandidate committees are required to disclose the source of their contributions and are not allowed any anonymous contributions

But the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund is apparently exempt from state law.  If you look at their disclosure of contributions, all the contributions come from…themselves.  How does a noncandidate committee fund itself?  Are they printing money?  Does it materialize out of thin air?

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Group sues to prevent vote on Maui GMO moratorium

Kaua’i gets sued
Kaua’i passed an ordinance requiring the chemical companies to disclose the pesticides they were spraying and keep spraying a certain distance from schools, hospitals and homes.

Billion dollar chemical companies, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, Agrigenetics (doing business as Dow AgroSciences), and BASF retaliated by suing the small island county and initiating a $50,000 lobbying operation to over-ride the ordinance in the state legislature.

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Big push to overturn Citizen's United

Fresh off a Hawaii win, gubernatorial candidate David Ige lived up to his name and in a David and Goliath move, defeated Big Money funded Neil Abercrombie despite being outspent 9 to 1.  But Ige is the exception.   Corporate funders and the immensely wealthy few are bankrolling PACs and campaigns causing their influence to permeate lawmaking.  Since the Citizens United ruling, corporations are running unchecked through the U.S. political landscape.

Polling  shows that getting rid of Big Money in politics is a motivating issue for voters this election cycle. Today, the Senate is voting on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.   Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s mission is to counteract this overwhelming corporate influence derailing our democracy:

“Democrats can excite voters this November by campaigning boldly on big ideas like expanding Social Security benefits, holding Wall Street accountable, reducing student debt, and passing major political reform. Across the country, candidates in blue, purple, and red states are demonstrating that campaigning on public financing of elections and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United is the way to excite the electorate — and win elections. Campaign finance reform will be an issue on the campaign trail in 2014 like never before, and today’s vote helps fuel the fire.”
— Adam Green, PCCC co-founder

The PCCC is also working with Lawrence Lessig and his Mayday PAC (the PAC to end all Super PACs) which supports candidates of any party dedicated to reforming campaign spending. PCCC members have contributed $200,000 in small-dollar donations to MayDay PAC, which ran a $150,000 independent expenditure to help Ruben Gallego (AZ-7) win his primary against a more conservative opponent last month.

Gallego is running on reforming campaign finance:

“Corporations are not people and their ability to swing unlimited anonymous funds into our elections has a corrosive affect on our democracy. We need to overturn Citizens United and start holding corporations accountable for trying to hijack our elections.”

The MaydayPAC describes itself thusly:

The MaydayPAC is an independent political action committee (“superPAC”) that aims to elect a Congress committed to fundamental reform in the way political campaigns are funded by 2016. The PAC will operate in both the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. In 2014, it will pilot the idea of a superPAC pressing for fundamental reform, by running independent campaigns in 5 districts across the country. If successful, the PAC will organize a much larger intervention in 2016, with the objective of electing a majority of Congress that has either cosponsored, or pledged to support, fundamental reform of the way elections are funded.

MayDay PAC polling shows that the issue of Big Money campaign spending unites voters of all parties who agree that politics “is rigged for the rich and for corporate donors,” and that they are more likely to vote for a candidate with solutions to this.  In a low turn-out election year, this can be a powerful motivator in getting supporters to the polls.

Hawaii’s senator Brian Schatz, fresh off a squeaker of a primary says:

“Nothing should be more powerful in our democracy than your vote. But Citizens United and the unchecked corporate money it unleashed are taking that power away. Corporations are not people and they shouldn’t be granted the same rights. We need to overturn Citizens United to make sure the voters and not corporations are in charge of our elections.”

According to PCCC a vote on a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United will come to the floor of the Senate today.  Hawaii senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono have said they will support the amendment.  Do your senators support it?  Call them right now and urge them to sign on.

Reprinted from DailyKos

Sierra Club endorses David Ige and Shan Tsutsui

Today the Sierra Club announced that they are endorsing David Ige and Shan Tsutsui for Governor/Lt. Governor. This is not the first time the Club has endorsed Tsutsui who was endorsed by the Sierra Club every time he ran for the legislature.

The Sierra Club praised both candidates:

. “We have confidence that Senator Ige will move Hawaii toward a more sustainable future when he is elected governor. He supports efforts to modernize Hawaii’s electrical grid and facilitate increases in rooftop solar.”

The Sierra Club has been particularly concerned about HECO’s  roadblocks in the way those wanting to install rooftop solar, so one can understand why they would endorse an engineer who understands grid issues at a deep level.  Sierra Club praised Shan Tsutui for his long record of sincere caring for residents’ quality of life:

“Shan Tsutsui has a deep understanding of what makes each island unique, and has always been there for us.  Whether it’s combating invasive species or making a more liveable community for working families, his actions come from his own heartfelt values.  He is especially good at bringing all sides together and crafting solutions that are a win for everyone.”

According to Civil Beat:

“The Sierra Club chose not to endorse a gubernatorial candidate for governor in the primary, a clear snub of Abercrombie, who some have criticized for not being sufficiently sensitive toward environmental issues and more inclined to side with developers.”

Ironically, in 2010 the Sierra Club had campaigned hard for Abercrombie against Mufi Hannemann, going so far as to create detailing Hannemann’s failings.  According to one person who campaigned for Abercrombie, speaking on condition of anonymity, “Little did we know we were trading one pay-to-play candidate for another.”

What Civil Beat did not mention is that in a fit of pique after being passed over for endorsement, Abercrombie appointed three candidates to the Land Use Commission guaranteed to send the Sierra Club ballistic:  a Realtor (formerly with A&B Properties) and two construction union officials.  Immediately after the appointments were announced a petition asking the Senate not to confirm the interim appointments was launched.

Given the wide margin of Ige’s primary win over Abercrombie (despite being outspent 10 to 1), it appears voters are fed up with Abercrombie’s abrasive politics.

Both Ige and Tsutsui are low-key, competent men with long track records of getting things done in ways that bring the community together.  Both are also “hand-on” rather than delegating work and decisions to advisors as Abercrombie did.  Both have reputations for being calm and level headed.

They’ll face Republican Duke Aiona, supported by the religious right and independent Mufi Hanneman in November.

Maui voices were heard: Tivoli Faaumu new Police Chief

Apparently public outcry against business as usual at Maui Police Department was heard by the Police Commission and acted upon.

Tivoli Faaumu has been appointed the new chief.  Faaumu has been described as “fair” and “an excellent leader” by the rank and file of MPD.

Hana Hou Magazine has an article about Faaumu here.

Read more at MauiNow

Watch Faaumu address issues of communication and trust head on.