Isle GOP leads in fundraising
The state Campaign Spending watchdog posts noncandidate committee figures
The Hawaii Republican Party has raised about 36 percent more money than the Democrats through noncandidate campaign committees, according to the latest figures posted on the Internet by the state Campaign Spending Commission.
The Republicans have raised $543,400 to the Democrats' $397,500 through these committees. The figures have been posted on the Internet for the first time, thanks to commission Executive Director Barbara Wong, who wants the Legislature to make Internet postings a requirement.
Only candidates have to file their reports electronically so they can be put on the Internet. Wong this year took the noncandidate committee reports and scanned them and put them online. She said that she will ask the 2007 Legislature to make it a law for noncandidate committees to file their reports electronically.
"There is no reason not to pass electronic filing," Wong said.
"What is important, before people vote, they need to look where candidates are getting their money," Wong said.
Commission members said by posting the figures reported by these campaign committees on the Internet, voters now may easily track contributions made by companies, unions and special-interest groups. Previously, that information was available only at the downtown Honolulu campaign spending commission office.
The information is now available at www.hawaii.gov/ campaign.
The report shows that some local interests have amassed a significant amount of campaign funds.
One of them is Alexander and Baldwin, the real estate, agriculture and transportation company, which reports a campaign balance of $457,000. During the last six months, it gave out just $31,000 and appeared to be backing legislative incumbents. It gave $8,000 to both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Wong said the campaign reports show how much was contributed to a company, union, political party or political action committee -- and who's finally getting that money.
"The buck stops with the public taking the time to get to know their candidates," Wong said. "This provides accountability and transparency to the electoral process."
Unions also listed some large bank balances.
The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, for instance, had $201,000 on hand for campaign donations. The United Public Workers had $101,000 for the campaign year.
A change in state campaign spending law last year forbids any corporation, political action committee or union from giving more than $1,000 in any election, but if the money was raised before Jan. 1, 2006, it is not affected by the new law.
So companies and unions reporting large surpluses at the beginning of the year have a political advantage. Democrats this year were forced to return $50,400 to donors who had given over the $1,000 limit.