Campaign money can't be donated to strikers
By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The state Campaign Spending Commission yesterday issued an advisory opinion that politicians may not use campaign money to help striking workers, as a number of politicians wanted to do last month when public-school teachers and university faculty were on the picket lines.
The opinion was prompt-ed by queries from several candidates who had asked during the strikes if they could use their campaign funds to assist the strikers, said commission executive director Bob Watada.
"There were a number of candidates who said, 'I've got this money in my campaign account; can I help these poor strikers?'" Watada said. "The answer is no."
Watada said he did not know of any politicians who used their campaign money to make donations to striking workers.
The commission yesterday also approved an advisory opinion clarifying that candidates may not use campaign contributions to establish charitable or educational trust funds in a candidate's name.
The opinion also said donating contributions to charitable organizations previously established in a candidate's name "would not be appropriate." But candidates may donate to charitable trusts they have already established, unrelated to any campaign, as long as the candidates, their families and their committees don't benefit, the opinion said.