By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
Gov. Ben Cayetano yesterday said he agrees with U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmors ruling that Hawaiis Code of Fair Campaign Practices is unconstitutional.
"Ive always believed that that was a poorly thought out attempt to try and legislate speech in the political season," he said. "One of the great things about this country is that people are allowed to say virtually anything. We take the good with the bad."
Gillmor ruled that the code results in a restriction of free speech. By signing the voluntary code, candidates pledge to refrain from character defamation of their opponents, among other requirements.
The ruling addressed a dispute between Republican state Senate candidate Roger Ancheta and incumbent Democrat Randy Iwase. Ancheta sued after the Campaign Spending Commission censured him for depicting Iwase in a cartoon in a campaign flier in 1998. Gillmor agreed with Ancheta and said the state should not be regulating speech in campaigns.
Cayetano said it "was a matter of time" before the code would have been called unconstitutional. "If it wasnt Judge Gillmor, it would be someone else," he said.
Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Bob Watada said Cayetano signed the code in his 1994 campaign for governor, but did not sign it in the 1998 campaign.
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