Thursday, October 29, 1998

Campaign '98

Lingle spending
charge dropped

The city prosecutor concludes
there was no intent to violate the law

Decision 98: Time of Change

Your guide to the election

By Crystal Kua


Linda Lingle's state of mind -- whether she deliberately exceeded state campaign spending limits -- was a key consideration in the decision not to pursue criminal prosecution against her, said Deputy City Prosecutor Larry Grean.

"It's not just that you have exceeded the limit, but you have to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly do these acts," said Grean, one of three staffers assigned to look into the allegation. "If you don't know that you've exceeded, then you don't have the state of mind."

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, in announcing the outcome of the case against the GOP gubernatorial candidate Lingle, said: "It simply means there is no basis for a criminal prosecution on the evidence."

The case now heads back to the state Campaign Spending Commission.

"It was an outcome that we had expected," said Lingle, reached on Maui last night. "It was a transparent attempt by (the Democratic Party) to make an issue out of something that was not an issue."

Democratic Party Chairman Walter Heen said he would accept the prosecutor's findings, but that's not the final word.

"We must assume that he examined the facts fairly and impartially," Heen said of Carlisle.

Heen also responded to Lingle's attorney, Richard Clifton, who said the complaint was politically motivated.

"I'm tired of hearing him say it's political. We're not playing tiddlywinks. Everything that they do and everything we do is political," Heen said.

Lingle, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano, earlier this month returned $136,229 in public funds to the Campaign Spending Commission after she exceeded the voluntary limit of $1.36 million for the primary election.

The Democratic Party filed a complaint against Lingle for failing to abide by the limits and alleged that her actions were criminal. The commission last week voted to refer that complaint to the prosecutor's office.

Carlisle assigned First Deputy Prosecutor Iwalani White, chief investigator Robert Lee, and screening and intake chief Grean to review the case.

Interviewed for the case were Lingle, campaign chairman Bob Awana, and campaign treasurer Reg Baker. The investigation also included a review of documents from the commission and the campaign spending limit laws.

"There were three campaign spending violations that (the commission) gave us. Two of those three, there was absolutely nothing there, and the third one, turned on a question of intent," Carlisle said.

Grean said the law requires that someone intentionally, knowingly and recklessly does certain things -- and Lingle did not meet those state-of-mind requirements.

Campaign Spending Commission attorney Brian Nakamura said the commission's next meeting is Nov. 10.

The range of actions it could take on the Lingle case include dismissing the complaint, or finding that a violation had occurred, he said.

"If the commissioners believe there is a violation, what they would do is advise the (Lingle) committee of their right to contest that conclusion."

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