Democrats aim
ethics volley at Lingle

The complaint centers on use of
Maui County stationery 4 years ago

By Pat Omandam

The Democratic Party of Hawaii fired the latest salvo in the ongoing campaign ethics debate between Gov. Ben Cayetano and Republican gubernatorial candidate Linda Lingle.

Lorraine Akiba, Democratic Party chairwoman, said yesterday she filed two complaints with government agencies against Lingle for issuing a news release as Maui mayor in February 1998 to rebut allegations made by Cayetano, who was then gearing up for his re-election campaign.

Akiba said Lingle's use of county stationery and the county seal for campaign purposes was illegal and she wants the 4-year-old alleged violation investigated. She filed her complaints yesterday with the Maui County Ethics Commission and the state Campaign Spending Commission.

Akiba said the ethics complaint by Lingle and the Hawaii Republican Party against Cayetano for using state time and personnel to review the fiscal proposals of gubernatorial candidates is hypocritical.

It is time Lingle be called on her double standards, she said.

"My concern here is really if we're going to clean house, let's clean house completely," said Akiba, who added no one is above the law.

"And we want to make sure that Linda Lingle is held to the same ethical standard of conduct that all public officials, especially those that are seeking the highest office in this state, the governorship, should be held accountable to the people of Hawaii," she said.

But Micah Kane, Hawaii GOP chairman, said yesterday what the Democratic complaints really mean is that there is a coordinated effort on behalf of the outgoing Cayetano administration and his political party to divert attention from real campaign issues.

Kane said Lingle didn't step over the line by issuing that 1998 news release and believes an investigation will prove it.

"It's really sad that our sitting governor, along with Democrat leadership, are stooping so low," Kane said.

"It's obvious that they have no real issues. ... These are issues that were addressed four years ago."

Robert Watada, Campaign Spending Commission director, said the complaint against Lingle will be investigated and there's no statute of limitations for such alleged violations.

"We'll look into it, and we'll see what the facts are and then we'll have the two opposing sides present their issues to us," Watada said.

The dispute began last month when Cayetano asked state Tax Director Marie Okamura to analyze Lingle's campaign proposals, specifically her "Agenda for a New Beginning."

The governor then issued a news release saying Lingle's plan to cut taxes would jeopardize $400 million in state funds and there was no way to make up the shortfall.

Lingle and Hawaii Republicans responded to the governor's action by filing a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission, charging the governor with misuse of government employees, resources and time for "blatant" political campaigning.

Cayetano then said he welcomes a state Ethics Commission investigation and wants an expedited hearing so he can call Lingle as a witness.

The governor said the state expenses for the research were salary costs of $140.91 for the state budget office and $259.79 for the tax office.

Kane said he would not drop the GOP's ethics complaint against Cayetano if the Democrats offered to drop their complaints against Lingle.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --