Lingle donors
get 20% of jobs

The governor says she doesn't
look at donation records while
considering appointees

>> Lingle's 2002 win has given state GOP a financial boost.

>> A gubernatorial appointee and former campaign worker for Gov. Lingle is also part-owner of an accounting firm that has done $611,573 worth of work for Republicans.

Star-Bulletin research into fund raising shows that slightly more than 20 percent of those named to state boards and commissions this year have given to Gov. Linda Lingle's campaign.

Lingle said neither the party nor her administration checks donation records before naming a person to a board or commission.

Bob Watada, Campaign Spending Commission executive director, said he wasn't surprised by the 20 percent figure, adding that it was about the same when the Democrats controlled the Governor's Office.

"There are those who think if you give money to candidates you are going to be on the Board of Regents," Watada said.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano and Gov. Lingle did much to stop that image, Watada said, by advertising for appointees and having "a bona fide system to screen people."

This year, Lingle made 184 nominations to various state boards and commissions, from the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to the Policy Advisory Board for Elder Affairs.

Lingle said she takes a close look at only about a dozen or so appointments to key boards or commissions, such as the Land Use Commission, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the Judicial Selection Commission and the Board of Regents.

Lingle added that the 20 percent figure "doesn't sound particularly high, and that tells me that we aren't checking (to compare donations to nominees)."

Bob Awana, Lingle's chief of staff, explains that he and his assistants do much of the initial screening after the lists of names are drawn up by Allyson Apo, the boards and commissions manager.

Apo replaced former state Sen. Stan Koki, who handled the job after Lingle won election in 2002.

"She builds a database of all the board and commission requests and then tries to slot them to broad categories and then submits to me a list of prospective candidates for each of the boards and commissions," Awana said.


Although some boards require a certain individual, such as a plumber or a private citizen, to represent the public, Awana says Lingle also wants other criteria to be considered.

"Even when there is no requirement for a neighbor island participant, that is one of the criteria. Also, we try to balance gender," Awana said.

It stands to reason, Awana said, that people who gave to Lingle's campaign "might be someone we know and could contribute to one board or another."

"But the question is never asked, did they contribute or not," Awana said.

The records show some appointees have close ties to Lingle's campaign or the GOP.

For instance: Sheila Leas, who was named to the Commission on the Status of Women, replacing Nanci Kreidman, was employed by the Lingle campaign as the accounting manager, where she supervised 50 campaign volunteers and donated $230 to the campaign.

Also, Kevin H.M. Chong Kee, named to the Stadium Authority to replace Edward Hamada, is president of Kevin's Electric and is a second vice chairman of the Hawaii GOP who contributed $3,400 to the local GOP. His firm gave $1,515 to Lingle's campaign.

Other appointees who made large donations to Lingle include:

>> Robert Dewitz, $2,100 from his firm, HSI Electric, which also gave $20,000 to the state GOP: Hawaii Strategic Development Council.
>> John Toner, $2,000: Board of Directors, Hawaii Tourism Authority.
>> Edward J. MacDowell, $2,500: Small Business Regulatory Review Board.
>> James J.C. Haynes, $1,250: Board of Regents, University of Hawaii.


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