The Big Fat Gray Area of Lobbying Laws

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Editor's Note: This article is the third in an occasional series on Hawaii ethics laws. The first was titled, Today's Disclosure, Yesterday's News, and the second was headlined, Loophole Limits Disclosure of Lawmakers' Income. A related article, Lobbyist Violations in Hawaii? Who Knows, appears today.

Hawaii's lobbying laws leave organizations guessing what expenditures they're required to report with the state ethics commission.

A case in point is the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association. A Civil Beat review of lobbying records found that the industry group may have underreported its lobbying expenses, although the group says it's complying.

The confusion in part stems from constitutional speech protections that make regulating lobbying touchy.

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