STAR-BULLETIN / AUGUST 1990
Henry Giugni, in a white jacket, then sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. Senate and former aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, is caught in the middle of a 1990 protest about the destruction of chemical weapons on Johnston Island.
Inouye aide rose through Senate to become lobbyist
HENRY KUUALOHA GIUGNI / 1925-2005
Henry Kuualoha Giugni, who rose from Honolulu firefighter and policeman to become one of the most sought-after lobbyists in Washington, died yesterday of congestive heart failure in a Maryland hospital. He was 80.
The longtime aide and confidant of Sen. Daniel Inouye and former U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms was remembered in a written statement by Inouye as "my dear friend."
"I was privileged to have him serve on my staff as my executive assistant and chief of staff. Henry was an acquaintance of presidents and kings, but his heart was always with the native people of Hawaii," Inouye said yesterday.
Described by Inouye's news release as "a legend in Hawaiian politics" who was known and respected in every congressional office in Washington for his many years of dedicated service, Giugni served with Inouye from 1957 to 1987, when he was named Senate sergeant-at-arms. After retiring from the Senate in 1990, Giugni was hired as a lobbyist with Cassidy & Associates.
A graduate of Iolani School who attended the University of Hawaii, Giugni served in World War II with the 298th Infantry on Guadalcanal and in the New Hebrides.
He was a Honolulu policeman from 1948 to 1951, then became a territorial liquor inspector. He also served as a Honolulu firefighter. He joined Inouye's staff in 1957 when Inouye was majority leader of the territorial House, and went to Washington with Inouye when the former territorial lawmaker entered the U.S. House in 1959.
Giugni's fund-raising prowess got him in trouble in 1976, when he accepted an illegal $5,000 corporate contribution to Inouye's campaign from Gulf Oil. In another case, the Inouye campaign entered a guilty plea to a technical violation when Giugni was involved with a $5,650 corporate donation from shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, better known as the owner of the New York Yankees.
In 1992, Giugni entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor violation of a federal conflict-of-interest law for accepting free travel to Hawaii from a contractor doing business with the Senate when he was sergeant-at-arms, and was placed on a year's probation.
But there were moments of glory as well for the part-Hawaiian who grew up in Pearl City. One moment of fame occurred at the 1989 presidential inaugural of George H.W. Bush. As Senate sergeant-at-arms, Giugni was seen on world television guiding Bush and outgoing President Ronald Reagan to their places for the inaugural.
His tenure as Senate sergeant-at-arms was innovative. "I am particularly proud that I was able to open our nation's Capitol to the disabled with special tours, Braille printing and sign language for the deaf," he said in 1990.
As sergeant-at-arms, Giugni was in charge of the U.S. Senate computer center, telecommunications, recording studio, parking office, printing facility, photo studio, post office, guide service and Capitol police. As top law-enforcement official at the Senate and its protocol chief, he supervised most Senate support services, with about 2,000 employees and an annual budget of $120 million.
Giugni never shied away from the limelight, as when he shoved in a door to the office of Sen. Bob Packwood and ordered Capitol police to haul the Oregon Republican feet-first onto the Senate floor for a vote in the early hours of a round-the-clock filibuster. On a motion by then-Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., Giugni was handed warrants for the arrest of absent Republican senators, thus forcing them to answer a quorum call.
Linda Chu Takayama, a Honolulu attorney who worked for Giugni for four years when he was sergeant-at-arms, recalled that Giugni was the first person of color to hold the post in the Senate.
"He would make it a daily practice to walk around the Capitol to say thanks to the line workers. Henry never forgot them, and they never forgot him," Takayama said.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie said Giugni was "a commanding presence in national politics who never forgot his island roots. "He was universally respected for his wisdom, insight and institutional knowledge," Abercrombie said.
Sen. Daniel Akaka spoke of his longtime friend on the Senate floor yesterday.
"I will remember Henry as one of the first friends who welcomed me and my family to Washington when I was elected to Congress nearly 30 years ago," Akaka said. "His kindness continued over many years, and we knew him to be a loving husband and father."
Giugni is survived by his wife, Muriel Roselani, his daughters H. Kealoha Giugni, Deborah Roselani McMillan, Heather Haunani Giugni and Gina Pilialoha Giugni-Halbach, 11 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Services are pending.
The Associated Press contributed to this report