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Wednesday, October 11, 2000

Hawaii State Seal

Officials demand
that Mansho prove she
spent funds properly

Francis to appeal fine for
overdue spending reports

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Councilwoman Rene Mansho has 30 days to prove that some $32,000 in her campaign fund were not misused.

The state Campaign Spending Commission unanimously made that order after hearing from a complainant who said Mansho is improperly using election funds for personal reasons, among them to support the Aloha Boat Days program.

Also yesterday, the commission voted to fine Corporation Counsel David Arakawa, the city's top attorney, $1,000 for failing to turn in spending reports in a timely manner.

Robert Watada, executive director for the commission, recommended that the commission proceed with its investigation of Mansho, stating that there was "a preliminary determination of probable cause" that there was a violation.

Neal Aoki, an attorney for Mansho, argued that his client was allowed to expend the surplus remaining in her campaign fund after the 1998 election on charitable and service organizations.

But Watada told commissioners that only $21,000 was in her campaign account at the end of 1998. She has since held two fund-raisers and exceeded spending the $21,000 surplus by as much as $32,000, he said.

Watada said part of the problem is that Mansho is supposed to hold fund-raisers only if she is a candidate. Mansho, who is barred from seeking re-election in 2002, has "claimed that she is running for the office (of Council) in 2006," he said.

"The law is quite clear: You have to spend (campaign contributions) for purposes of an election, and she's not in an election," Watada said.

Aoki told commission members that "only a few thousand dollars" are related to the Boat Days program and that the rest can be explained.

"If it is ultimately determined that any expenditures were not allowed, certainly it was done unknowingly and unintentionally by Ms. Mansho," Aoki said. "Ms. Mansho's heart is in the right place."

Mansho told the Star-Bulletin last month that her support of Aloha Boat Days is part of her job as a councilwoman to support economic development.

Lei vendor Haunani Acohido said Mansho persuaded a cruise ship operator to stop purchasing leis from her company, a charge denied by the councilwoman.

A separate case, in which Acohido is alleging that Mansho used her staff for personal gain in relation to Aloha Boat Days, is before the city Ethics Commission.

Arakawa's case involves his failure to provide campaign spending reports since the end of 1996, the year he ran for city prosecutor.

Arakawa submitted his report yesterday, thereby avoiding further penalty. He has paid $400 of the fine, and the commission is seeking an additional $600.

According to the reports filed by Arakawa yesterday, he had a $23,743.60 cash balance in his campaign fund when he last filed in December 1996. The account now has a balance of $1,579.59.

Francis to appeal fine for
overdue spending reports

Star-Bulletin staff

The Campaign Spending Commission will take former City Council candidate Russ Francis to court.

The commission made the decision yesterday after Francis failed to pay a $1,000 fine -- due a month ago -- for not filing timely spending reports from 1998 through this year.

Francis has since submitted amended reports under threat of being fined an additional $1,000.

The former professional football player issued a news release last night stating that he would appeal the fine because it is "excessive and abusive."

The case involves Francis' unsuccessful challenge to Councilman Andy Mirikitani two years ago. The Republican is challenging U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink's re-election bid this year.

"Part of my concern is that I have had no communication with Russ," said commission Executive Director Robert Watada.

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