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Thursday, March 16, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

Sen. Ige bows
out of Anzai vote

By Richard Borreca


Democratic State Sen. Marshall Ige, a strong opponent of Attorney General Earl Anzai, will not vote on Anzai's confirmation because of public pressure.

Legislature 2000 Critics, including Gov. Ben Cayetano and the citizen reform group Common Cause, had argued that Ige, indicted by the state for accepting an improper campaign loan and other campaign violations, should not vote.

"I think the Senate president should have ruled him in conflict; why have this standard if you are not going to use it?" Cayetano said yesterday.

The governor felt Ige was in conflict because Ige has said before that he thought the state administration and Anzai had a personal vendetta against him. Ige is a longtime friend and political ally of former House Speaker Henry Peters, the former Bishop Estate trustee also indicted for theft.

Ige has pleaded innocent on all charges. Also, a judge threw out Peters' indictment, but the state is appealing.

Yesterday Larry Meacham, executive director of Common Cause, praised the Windward Democrat.

"I am very glad he decided to do the right thing," Meacham said.

"He would be faced with a great conflict of interest if he voted. This hopefully will help other senators who face conflicts recuse themselves from voting," Meacham added.

Ige said that while he didn't consider himself to have a conflict, he would not vote when Anzai's name comes before the Senate for confirmation because he did not want the Senate to "be tainted."

Saying that he still felt he should let his constituents know how he would have voted, Ige gave the Senate clerk a sealed envelope with his vote recorded, to be opened after the Senate decides on Anzai's nomination.

Senate president Mizuguchi also praised Ige and said he was "happy with the decision."

But he added that he didn't think it was proper for Cayetano to be advising senators on whether they were qualified to vote.

"There is a separation of powers, you know," Mizuguchi said.

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