Investigator lobbied on day of DLNR vote
Hilton Lui approached Sen. Lorraine Inouye to tell her to oppose the DLNR's director
The state Ethics Commission says it has learned of more evidence indicating that an investigator showed bias while conducting a probe into alleged wrongdoing in the Bureau of Conveyances.
Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway outlined his concerns yesterday in a letter to lawmakers who are conducting their own investigation into the bureau.
The investigator, former FBI agent Hilton Lui, declined comment yesterday, saying he had just returned from Japan and had not had a chance to speak with his attorney.
Lui has been called to appear on Wednesday before a joint Senate-House investigative committee.
Lui also had been retained by the committee as its lead investigator, and Democratic leaders have said they want to hear from him before proceeding.
In yesterday's letter, Mollway said Lui openly displayed his opposition to the reappointment of former state Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young and lobbied a senator to vote against him on the day of the Senate's floor vote. The Bureau of Conveyances is a division of DLNR.
The senator whom Lui had lobbied was previously unnamed, but Mollway said yesterday it was Lorraine Inouye.
Mollway said Inouye told him this week that Lui called her as early as April to ask her to vote against Young's nomination.
Inouye also confirmed that Lui called her in April.
Inouye (D, Hilo-Honokaa) said she has known Lui for more than 30 years and that she did not know he was investigating the Bureau of Conveyances at the time he asked her to vote against Young.
"I would've raised the concern then," Inouye said yesterday. "I would just tell him that I think it's inappropriate that you're lobbying me because you are on a contract with the Ethics Commission."
Young's nomination was defeated by the Senate. Inouye voted in his favor.
The Bureau of Conveyances has been the subject of separate investigations by the Ethics Commission and the state attorney general's office, focusing on security of documents recorded with the bureau, computer access and overall operations of the agency.