Harris wins DNC
fund-raising fight

Panel drops a probe
of the mayor's raising
$100,000 2 years ago

By Rick Daysog

The head of the state Campaign Spending Commission has withdrawn a complaint alleging Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris improperly raised $100,000 for the Democratic National Committee two years ago.

Bob Watada, the commission's executive director, said his office lacks resources to continue the legal battle over the complaint, which alleged that the Harris campaign failed to report the money it raised on behalf of the DNC and improperly covered campaign officials' travel expenses for mainland meetings with committee officials.

Watada said that related investigations in the Harris campaign have stretched his office's resources.

Ruth Ann Becker, a spokeswoman for the Harris campaign, said the move vindicates the Harris campaign. The campaign has said all along that the complaint lacked merit.

"Neither Harris nor his campaign broke any laws," Becker said.

The move comes after the Harris campaign sued the commission, saying it was violating the mayor's First Amendment rights to raise money for the DNC.

U.S District Judge Susan Oki Mollway recently declined to dismiss the commission's complaint but said she is not convinced that the mainland travel by Harris campaign officials was improper.

Mollway also said that she had questions about the commission's charge that the Harris campaign should have reported the money it raised on behalf of DNC.

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