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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, February 5, 2002

Gabbard cleared of disclosure complaint

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

State Board of Education member Carol Gabbard has corrected omissions in her 2000 financial interest disclosure form, and the state Ethics Commission has agreed not to pursue formal charges.

Gabbard, elected to the board in November 2000, has been the target of complaints by gay-rights activists.

Mitch Kahle, a member of Civil UnionsiCivil Rights Movement, filed a complaint with the commission in February 2001 accusing Gabbard of deliberately omitting information from the disclosure form required of all candidates for public office.

Gabbard was accused of failing to disclose her position as an officer with the Science of Identity Foundation, and her husband's position as president of Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values. Kahle called it an attempt to deceive the public.

The commission found that the information had not been included in her report, and that Gabbard had not disclosed that she was an officer in Stop Promoting Homosexuality International.

The commission told her "it appears that you violated ... the state Ethics Code." But it said Gabbard had made "genuine attempts to comply" with the disclosure law and there was no misconduct involved, so it did not pursue a formal hearing.

Such a hearing would have been held if the commission felt that Gabbard deliberately had violated state laws, said Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway.

Gabbard said she was pleased with the outcome, and that the complaints stemmed from a "hateful campaign of harassment waged by homosexual activists and their supporters against me and my family."

Last December, the Campaign Spending Commission dismissed a complaint filed against Gabbard by a gay-rights supporter. She was accused of failing to report contributions of newspaper advertising and use of a post office box.

Mollway yesterday corrected Gabbard's assertion that the Ethics Commission had dismissed Kahle's complaint. The allegations had merit, he said, but no further action was taken because Gabbard had brought herself into compliance with the ethics code.