Hawaii Ethics Director: Lawmakers 'Pushed' the Line on Gifts

The executive director of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission says lawmakers pushed the envelope when it came to accepting gifts during the legislative session.

Civil Beat revealed last week that one lawmaker took an Apple iPad, and that she and 10 others took two dozen Blu-ray DVDs worth $360 from a company with an interest before the Legislature.

The line between an acceptable and an improper gift has "really been pushed," Les Kondo, the Ethics Commission's executive director, said Wednesday.

"Things that are tangible that people can't accept include cash, gift cards — these are general examples — iPads, DVDs...those probably fall into the category of tangible gifts people cannot accept because they're not 'Gifts of Aloha,'" he said.

The comments came after a meeting in which the commission, in its closed-door executive session, took up several gifts accepted by lawmakers that Kondo has described as "questionable."

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