Bill targets fund raising at state offices
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
The state's elected officials and other government workers have historically been barred from distributing or selling campaign fund-raiser tickets at state office buildings, but that prohibition does not apply to private individuals with no affiliation to government.
House Bill 2268, sponsored by the state Ethics Commission, would put a blanket ban on such activities regardless of government affiliation. The bill moved out of the House Legislative Management Committee and now heads to the Judiciary Committee.
Daniel Mollway, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said government officials have complained that the existing law gives an unfair advantage to non-incumbents who are now allowed to make campaign contributions in office buildings.
Committee members also said the current law is ineffectual because nothing prevents campaign workers of even incumbents from soliciting in state office buildings so long as they don't work for the state.
The bill, if approved, would give the Ethics Commission the authority to fine a person up to $500 for soliciting on state property.
Deputy Attorney General John Dellera testified against the bill. He said that while the state is within its rights to prohibit state employees from soliciting, a blanket prohibition that includes nonemployees could be interpreted as a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.
But House Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Luke, D-26th (Punchbowl, Pacific Heights, Nu'uanu Valley), who is vice-chair of the Legislative Management Committee, said the intent of the bill is not to prohibit the activity of private individuals. The intent is to "preserve the sanctity of activities in state offices."
Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 525-8070.