Hawaii Mortgage Task Force Warned on Ethics Conflicts

Flickr; Jeff Turner

The Hawaii Ethics Commission director says members of a state Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force may have violated ethics laws.

In a May 26 memorandum obtained by Civil Beat, ethics commission Executive Director Les Kondo wrote that members of the task force may have testified or lobbied the Legislature on mortgage foreclosure issues on behalf of non-governmental entities that they worked for.

"It has come to our attention that some members of the Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force may have testified and/or otherwise lobbied on mortgage foreclosure issues before the Hawaii State Legislature during the 2011 session on behalf of non-governmental entities, either as a paid lobbyist or as an employee of the entity," Kondo wrote.

"If true, such conduct raises concerns under the State Ethics Code."

Hawaii passed a major foreclosure bill in 2011. The task force provided significant input for the bill as it was being vetted by lawmakers.

Considered one of the nation's strongest foreclosure laws, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed SB 651 May 5.

Chapter 84 of Hawaii Revised Statutes prohibits legislators and state employees from being paid to represent a business or person on a matter in which the employee has participated or will participate.

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