Thursday, June 21, 2001

Waihee’s campaign
funds end up in
several odd places

A Zen monastery and
the Tax Foundation benefited
from the many donations

By Richard Borreca

Former Gov. John Waihee has turned in his tardy campaign spending report, detailing $80,000 in contributions to charities, the Democratic Party and even the Tax Foundation of Hawaii.

The $3,000 to the Tax Foundation is particularly notable because while Waihee was governor, his administration was regularly criticized by the Tax Foundation for spending too much state money.

"I guess he was feeling somewhat penitential and decided to at least recognize the valuable advice we gave him during his years as governor," Lowell Kalapa, the foundation's executive director, said.

Waihee had originally closed his campaign treasury in 1999, but then campaign officials discovered that more than $80,000 in checks for services were not cashed, and other contributions that were either over the spending limit or made improperly were returned but not cashed.

The end result was money left in the account that Waihee's treasurer, Glenn Sakuda, did not know about.

When the Campaign Spending Commission discovered the error and alerted Waihee, he donated a portion of the money, $15,000, to the Democratic Party.

Waihee's committee never filed a report until June 15 explaining where the last money went.

Besides the money to the Democrats and the Tax Foundation, Waihee gave the largest donation, $24,000 to Read to Me International, a nonprofit organization. Waihee's wife, Lynne Waihee, is president of Read to Me International Foundation and has helped sponsor literacy drives across the state.

Waihee's campaign also donated $10,600 to the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii's Ke Au Hou, the Millennium Youth Fund, a part of last year's Millennium Commission. Waihee was chairman of that commission.

Also included in Waihee's donations was $1,000 to Chozen-ji, a Zen monastery in Kalihi Valley.

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