GOP senators call for
Kanno to step down

The Democrat faces scrutiny
for possible abuses of authority

Senate Republicans are escalating their campaign against Sen. Brian Kanno, saying the influential Labor Committee chairman should step down.


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In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Fred Hemmings, GOP leader, said allegations against Kanno are "a terrible cloud cast upon all of us."

On Monday, the Senate's GOP minority filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission, saying Kanno (D, Kalaeloa-Makakilo) had misused his position to lobby unfairly for a legislative aide, Leon Rouse. The commission has not yet decided whether to investigate the complaint.

Rouse was fired by Norwegian Cruise Line last year after being accused of sexual harassment. Kanno asked other legislators to sign a letter supporting Rouse, then helped introduce resolutions that critics say attempted to intimidate NCL.

The nonbinding resolutions would have directed the state Tax Department to assess whether the cruise line should have to pay the state's hotel room tax. The resolutions were not given a hearing.

"It seems fair and prudent that Sen. Kanno step down from his position as chair of the Labor Committee until the ethics investigation is completed and a public report issued," Hemmings said in a letter to Senate President Robert Bunda.

Hemmings said Kanno's efforts to call for an investigation into whether or not NCL should pay higher taxes are an "unwarranted abuse of political power."

Bunda, however, said it was "premature to comment on the request."

Kanno declined comment yesterday, but said Monday night that he would cooperate with any commission investigation.

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