HawaiiHawaii Accountability ProjectHawaii State Government

Are There Conflict of Interest Rules For Hawaii’s Executives?

·By The Civil Beat Staff

About the Author

Civil Beat Staff

The Civil Beat Staff

Discussion

is required to file a regular asset disclosure form.


Notes: All elected state officials including the governor, are required to file financial disclosure forms.


Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-17 Requirements of disclosure. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if the governor is required by law to file an asset disclosure form while in office, illustrating sources of income, stock holdings, and other assets. This form need not be publicly available to score a YES.
No: A NO score is earned if the governor is not required to disclose assets.


2. In law, state cabinet-level officials are required to file a regular asset disclosure form.


Notes: All elected state officials, such as the lieutenant governor and Office of Hawaiian Affairs board of trustees members, are required to file financial disclosure forms.


Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-17 Requirements of disclosure. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0017.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if state cabinet-level officials, or their equivalents, are all required by law to file an asset disclosure form while in office, illustrating sources of income, stock holdings, and other assets.
No: A NO score is earned if state cabinet-level officials are not required to disclose assets. A NO score is also earned if some cabinet level officials must disclose assets, but others are not required to do so.


3. In law, there are regulations governing gifts and hospitality offered to members of the executive branch.


Notes: Under the Code of Ethics, state lawmakers are required to report gift or gifts exceeding $200 in value from one source by filing disclosure forms with the State Ethics Commission. Employees, which includes the governor, cannot accept, receive or solicit gifts meant to influence or reward them.


Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-11 Gifts, §84-11.5 Reporting of gifts.


Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0011.htm and http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0011_0005.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are formal guidelines regulating gifts and hospitality offered to members of the executive branch of government.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no guidelines or regulations with respect to gifts and hospitality offered to members of the executive branch. A NO score is also earned if the guidelines are overly general and do not specify what is and is not appropriate.


4. In law, there are requirements for the independent auditing of executive branch asset disclosure forms (defined here as governors and/or cabinet-level officials).


Notes: Independent auditing of financial disclosure forms are not required by state law, according to Hawaii State Ethics Commission's executive director Les Kondo. However, by state law the commission has the power to initiate investigations into an alleged ethics violation. Reviews are done if the Ethics Commission is made aware of any inaccuracies or irregularities.


Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part III. State Ethics Commission, Part IV. Administration and Enforcement, §84-31 Duties of commission; complaint, hearing, determination. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0031.htm for details.


Sources: No such law exists.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria:
These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there is a legal or regulatory requirement for independent auditing of executive branch asset disclosures. The auditing is performed by an impartial third party.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no legal or regulatory requirements for the independent auditing of executive branch asset disclosures or if such requirements exist but allow for self-auditing.


5. In law, the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials are prohibited from the personal use of campaign contributions.


Notes: In general, all candidates, treasurers or candidate committees are prohibited from using campaign funds for personal expenses under state law.


Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Title 2. Elections, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, G. Expenditures, §11-382, Prohibited uses of campaign funds. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0382.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are regulations that explicitly prohibit the use of campaign contributions for personal ends.
No: A NO score is earned if no such regulation exists.


6. In law, there are restrictions on the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials setting up non-profit organizations (e.g. community groups, think tanks) that can be used to reward political supporters and/or evade campaign finance rules.


Notes: There is no flat out prohibition for elected officials in setting up a nonprofit, or sitting on the board of a nonprofit, according to Hugh Jones, supervising deputy Attorney General - Tax Division in Hawaii. However, nonprofit organizations are prohibited from engaging in political activity, Jones said. Fair treatment and conflicts of interests rules would apply in this case, preventing elected officials from bestowing rewards or favors.


Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-13 Fair treatment. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0013.htm for details.


Also see §84-14 Conflicts of interests. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0014.htm for details.


Sources: No such law exists.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria:
These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are regulations restricting the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials' ability to create third-party organizations that could be used to reward political supporters and/or evade campaign finance rules.
No: A NO score is earned if no such restrictions exist.


7. In law, there are regulations for the disclosure of non-profit organizations (CSOs, think tanks, etc.) set up by the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials.


Notes: There is no flat out prohibition on the governor or his appointees setting up a nonprofit, according to Hugh Jones, supervising deputy Attorney General - Tax Division in Hawaii. But fair treatment and conflicts of interests rules would apply in this case, restricting the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials' ability to create third-party organizations that could be used to reward political supporters and/or evade campaign finance rules.


Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-13 Fair treatment. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0013.htm for details.


Also see §84-14 Conflicts of interests. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0014.htm for details.


Sources: No such law exists, but Fair Treatment and Conflict of Interest rules apply.


Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-13 Fair treatment. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0013.htm for details.


Also see §84-14 Conflicts of interests. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0014.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria:
These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are any requirements mandating the disclosure of non-profit organizations set up by the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no requirements mandating the disclosure of non profit organizations set up by the governor and/or state cabinet-level officials.


8. In law, there are regulations to prevent nepotism (favorable treatment of family members), cronyism (favorable treatment of friends and colleagues), and patronage (favorable treatment of those who reward their superiors) amongst members of the executive branch.


Notes: There is currently no state law that addresses nepotism, but there are fair treatment and conflict of interests laws that may apply in certain cases. State employees, which includes appointed or elected officers, must abide by the state's fair treatment laws. They cannot use their government position to give favorable treatment to self or to anyone nor grant unwarranted privileges, advantages or benefits. It may be interpreted to include the terms nepotism, cronyism and patronage.


Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-13, Fair treatment. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0013.htm for details.


Also see §84-14 Conflicts of interests. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0014.htm for details.


Sources: No such law exists.


Score: 0%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are specific formal rules prohibiting nepotism, cronyism, and patronage amongst members of the executive branch. These should include competitive recruitment and promotion procedures as well as safeguards against arbitrary disciplinary actions and dismissal.
No: A NO score is earned if no such regulations exist.


9. In law, there are restrictions on governors and/or state cabinet-level officials entering the private sector after leaving the government.


Notes: There are post employment restrictions for former employees, which also includes those nominated, appointed or elected to state office. This applies to the governor and state cabinet-level officials. For 12 months after the end of their employment with the state, former employees are not allowed to represent any business or person for a fee on issues they participated on.


Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 84 Standards of Conduct, Part II. Code of Ethics, §84-18 Restrictions on post employment. Visit http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol02_Ch0046-0115/HRS0084/HRS_0084-0018.htm for details.


Score: 100%


Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are regulations restricting the ability of governors and/or state cabinet-level officials to take positions in the private sector after leaving government that would present a conflict of interest, including positions that directly seek to influence their former government colleagues.
No: A NO score is earned if no such restrictions exist.




DISCUSSION: What do you think about conflict of interest laws in Hawaii? Do they work? Share your thoughts below.*