Inouye's Chief of Staff Manipulating Governor's Race in Hawaii

Reprinted and expanded from DailyKos

Inouye’s hatchet (wo)man and former Chief of Staff has been using the late senator’s machine to manipulate politics in Hawai’i.

By her own admission former Inouye Chief of Staff Jennifer Sabas created the “Deathbed Letter” supposedly from Inouye, robosigned and delivered to Governor Abercrombie a half hour after Inouye’s death.  In this letter, Sabas ordered Abercrombie to appoint Colleen Hanabusa to Inouye’s position.

How coincidental that Sabas is now described as a “top Hanabusa campaign official.” In fact, a source is telling us that Sabas pushed Hanabusa to abandon her House seat and challenge Democrat Senator Brian Schatz for the senate position in the 2014 election.

That would be the entire story – machinations to keep a powerful “fixer” and political insider in a job except that it appears that Sabas’ meddling goes far beyond the Hanabusa campaign.

We’re being told by a reliable confidential informant that Sabas is also behind David Ige’s primary challenge to Governor Neil Abercrombie.   And this isn’t just revenge that Sabas’ trick with her “deathbed letter” didn’t work.

One explanation for Sabas backing Ige to primary Abercrombie is that it will keep the Governor from concentrating on helping Senator Brian Schatz defeat his primary challenge from Hanabusa.  We’ve always felt that was reaching and a fairly ineffective strategy considering all the time a campaign and fundraising takes.  Although it most certainly would explain Ige’s lack of preparation on issues he was asked about in the debate.

Our source has another explanation:

Colleen Hanabusa is falling each day in the polls and the writing is on the wall:  Sabas will be out of a job soon with no powerful politician to hand her a position.

What to do?  How about Sabas back another of the the Inouye group for Governor?

Enter state senator David Ige challenging Governor Abercrombie in the Democratic primary.  Our source tells us Sabas was behind his challenge to Abercrombie.

Speculation is that there is a behind-the-scenes agreement that Hanabusa will become Ige’s Attorney General, Sabas will get a position, and Department of Land and Natural Resources Director (and respected Hawaiian) William Aila will be replaced with another Inouye insider.

Goodbye to all the progress that has been made by DLNR to protect Hawaii’s natural resources from over-exploitation.

The Ige campaign through email denies that he has decided on any appointments yet.  This may be true.  But with Sabas advising, these guesses seem pretty likely.

Here’s the kicker.  Sabas was Inouye’s fixer on the Oahu rail project and gave the Pacific Resource Partnership PAC their marching orders.  (PRP lobbied for rail.) Sabas called the shots on who did what and how the campaign was structured. The Hanabusa campaign is using anger at the PRP’s strongarm tactics over the controversial project in a pretty farfetched attack on Sen Schatz — while the very person who called the PRP shots is on her campaign staff!

As a few small voices have been warning:  Don’t mistake Ige’s mild manner and noncontroversial (actually nonexistent) positions as being a blank slate for voters to project their own wishful thinking. You are getting someone who is part of a powerful Inouye military/aerospace/construction group.

If Sabas fails to defeat incumbents Senator Brian Schatz and Governor Neil Abercrombie, the last remnants of the good ‘ol boy network will disperse.  But Sabas has two chances to retain power:  Colleen Hanabusa and David Ige.

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