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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 31, 2002

More subpoenas issued in Harris campaign inquiry

By Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writer

A second round of subpoenas has been issued in the criminal investigation of illegal campaign contributions to Mayor Jeremy Harris, the city prosecutor's office said this week.

Prosecutors had already subpoenaed financial records and other documents from Harris' campaign committee and from the state Campaign Spending Commission, which voted earlier this month to turn its investigation over to prosecutors.

Since November, the commission has fined nine companies and individual contributors to Harris' 1996 and 2000 campaigns for giving more than the legal limit of $4,000 per donor.

Jim Fulton, executive assistant to Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, declined to say how many new subpoenas went out or whether recipients included companies that contributed to Harris.

"A number of additional subpoenas have been issued, but we're not going to comment beyond that," he said.

Campaign Spending Commission officials say they found evidence that the Harris campaign hid the true source of contributions by attributing them to relatives of employees of companies that actually supplied the money.

But Harris and his campaign deny any deliberate wrongdoing and complain that the commission did not publicly reveal any evidence before seeking a criminal investigation. Harris plans to run for governor as a Democrat in the fall elections.

Campaign officials say they have nothing to hide and will cooperate fully with prosecutors. The subpoenas required the campaign to produce its documents six days ago, but that deadline may have been extended because of the large volume of documents involved.

Two companies fined by the commission this month also gave excess contributions to other Hawai'i politicians. But commission executive director Robert Watada said he has found no evidence that those campaigns orchestrated the illegal donations or laundered them.

Reach Johnny Brannon at jbrannon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.