Friday, October 25, 2002

Democratic mailers
draw outrage from GOP

By Crystal Kua

Republicans criticized as deceitful two fliers mailed out by the Democratic Party concerning campaign donations by oil companies and the controversial bill to cap gas prices.

Election 2002
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"We are here today because the Democratic Party of Hawaii is willing to lie to get its candidates elected," said Rep. David Pendleton (R, Enchanted Lake), who stood with other Republicans in front of the Democratic Party headquarters.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Lorraine Akiba released a statement saying the party stands behind its fliers. "They are based on facts," she said.

But other Democrats are not happy with the mailers because they say the strategy could backfire on the party.

One of the fliers says that gas and oil companies have given tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Party and GOP House candidates. It also says that when Republicans had a chance to vote for lower gas prices by approving a bill designed to cap gasoline prices, "Republicans said no and sided with the gas and oil companies and against our families."

But Pendleton and Rep. Emily Auwae (R, Waianae) were among four Republicans who voted for the bill as did the majority of House Democrats.

"(Democrats) have ruined my reputation by sending out these things," Auwae said.

Pendleton noted there were Democrats who voted against the bill. They were Reps. Jerry Chang, Eric Hamakawa, Bertha Kawakami, Bob Nakasone, Joe Souki and Mark Takai.

Democratic leaders said that if there are inaccuracies in the mailers, they should be changed, clarified or pulled.

"My position is that all of our ads should be based on accurate information," said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye said that as the party's senior Democrat, he will look into the matter. He said if there are inaccuracies, "I will call upon the appropriate officials and tell them in no uncertain terms to take it out of circulation and clarify it. It is something I will not tolerate."

Pendleton also said that accepting campaign donations from gas companies does not mean candidates are beholden to the companies. Pendleton said he has received several hundred dollars in oil company-related donations in the past. Auwae said she has received $500.

Star-Bulletin reporter Richard Borreca contributed to this report.

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