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Mayor's race draws big-spending PACs

Fresh reports show groups pouring cash into TV and radio ads

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 10:38 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012

A union-backed political action committee known as Workers for a Better Hawaii spent more than $700,000 in recent months supporting Hono­lulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell and opposing former Gov. Ben Caye­tano.

Prominent Honolulu businessman Robert Iwa­moto contributed $100,000 to Save­Our­Hono­lulu.com, a political action committee dedicated to electing Caye­tano.

Windward businessman Joe Pickard donated $40,000 to Defend Truth, a second PAC set up to support Caye­tano's candidacy.

The information about the three PACs is contained in reports filed Monday with the state Campaign Spending Commission. Active candidates and PACs had until midnight to file their latest list of contributions and expenditures.

Among the independent noncandidate committees that had not yet filed by 7 p.m. Monday was the Pacific Resource Partnership PAC, which reported spending more than $1.2 million before the August primary election to oppose Caye­tano.

Hawaii's airwaves and, to a lesser extent, print media have seen an unprecedented number of campaign advertisements this year. The escalation can be attributed to a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that essentially made it legal for businesses, unions and other groups to spend an unlimited amount in support or opposition of a political candidate as long as there is no coordination between the groups and the candidates.

MOST of Hawaii's labor unions back Caldwell, and many of the labor-related PACs cite his support for the city's $5.26 billion rail project and Caye­tano's promise to kill the controversial endeavor.

Even without PRP's latest expenditures, the $1.9 million known to have been spent by pro-Caldwell PACs far outpaces the $244,000 spent by the two Caye­tano groups.

Workers for a Better Hawaii appears to be a partnership of government and trade industry unions. It reported spending $675,675.15 in "Hono­lulu mayoral media" primarily for television and radio ads during the same August-October period. The PAC also reported receiving $705,000 in all, $700,000 from the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters in September. The remaining $5,000 came from the Maryland-based International Union of Painters & Allied Trades.

The Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters lists its address as 1311 Houghtailing St., the same address as the Hawaii Carpenters Union. Workers for a Better Hawaii lists former Hawaii Government Employees Association official Nora Nomura as its chairwoman, ILWU official Guy Fujimura as its treasurer and HGEA Comptroller Maureen Waku­zawa as its custodian of books and accounts. Neither Nomura, Fujimura nor Waku­zawa could be reached for comment Monday.

SaveOurHonolulu.com, an anti-rail and pro-Caye­tano group, reported $163,250 in contributions from Aug. 12 to Oct. 22, making Iwa­moto's contribution more than half of its revenue source. Iwa­moto could not be reached at his office Monday.

Two Kailua retirees, Kimberley Dey and Elizabeth Rice Grossman, each chipped in $25,000 to the PAC. Among other notable contributors to the PAC was ABC Stores President Paul Kosasa, who contributed $1,000.

The PAC reported spending $154,792 during the August-October period, largely on television and radio and other forms of advertising. Save­Our­Hono­lulu.com's chairman is Walter Heen, former chairman of the Caye­tano campaign. The treasurer and custodian of records is listed as businessman and longtime rail opponent Cliff Slater.

Defend Truth is headed by retired teacher Milton Hiro­hata. The group was formerly known as Defend Ben but was told to change names because it was not allowed to use Caye­tano in its name. Pickard's contribution is less than half the $81,000 the group reported receiving from August to October. Another five-digit contributor was Koolau Leasing LLC, which chipped in $10,000.

Defend Truth reported spending $80,865.43, all of it given to downtown Hono­lulu-based Heinrich Witter Bullard Marketing for advertising.

Also Monday, Cayetano attorney James Bickerton fired off letters to the chief executives of all four major network affiliates in Hawaii, urging them to stop running "false and defamatory" advertisements by PRP.

PRP is a trade name for the Hawaii Carpenters Market Recovery Program Fund, a consortium made up of the Hawaii Carpenters Union and trade contractors that use unionized workers. Funding comes from contractors who contribute based on the number of hours worked by unionized employees.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 01:38AM
what wrote:
PRP has proven that big money special interests can buy an election and influence the voting sheep with a constant onslaught of relentless TV and radio propaganda.
on October 30,2012 | 02:21AM
Grimbold wrote:
BEN is the most honest politician in Hawaii. And the polls by Ward research are flawed and intended to dry up donations for BEN !. Remember Mufi had a Ward poll 10% lead 2 weeks before the election and then lost by 20% ?The Ward polls are just more foul play.
on October 30,2012 | 06:51AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Nice big Support Ad in SA from SHOPO who endorses Caldwell. If the boys in blue trust him with integrity they Caldwell it is!
on October 30,2012 | 02:11PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 02:29PM
MalamaKaAina wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 01:39AM
what wrote:
PRP has proven that big business special interests can buy an election and influence the weak minded sheep with a constant onslaught of relentless TV and radio propaganda.
on October 30,2012 | 02:19AM
islandsun wrote:
PRP appeals to the low informed. Ben needs some loyalty from his countrymen and it appears that Filipinos have let him down. The rich railers will be retired with enough money to handle anything that comes their way. But the poor and middle class will hurt paying more in property taxes and water and sewer fees.
on October 30,2012 | 08:39AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Irt island sun, actually most poor don't pay property taxes. And the poor and middle class will benefit by the cheaper mode of transportation. They save on gas,insurance,maintenance,parking,motor taxes, etc.etc. One car equals to 15-20 thousand a year! The train will be good. You also notice it will go thru some of the less fortunate neighborhoods. If this was a republican state, they would be screaming that rail was an entitlement.
on October 30,2012 | 02:17PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I'm really really disappointed that Dan Inouye chose to appear in a PRP ad with Kirk Caldwell and aligned himself with John White in his slime ads. We know Kirk is a liar but Dan has decades of public service to Hawaii but his legacy will be as part of the dirtiest politics in Hawaii history. John White is dragging down everyone associated with him including the carpenter's union. NO SHAME NO MORALS.
on October 30,2012 | 03:34AM
kiragirl wrote:
Agree. If Kirk is smart, he would denounce those PRP ads which would make him look good. I predict he will because he is a typical politician. Now that polls show him in the lead, all the people associated with PRP, can finally smile. These people got no shame and no class. It will be a sad day in Hawaii that these smear advertisements are allowed (albeit the supreme court ruling) to persuade voters in a negative way.
on October 30,2012 | 05:09AM
Shh wrote:
I agree. Sad when they have to sink to that level to smear another's campaign to gain votes.
on October 30,2012 | 09:53AM
wiliki wrote:
The ads speak the truth. Inouye endorses Kirk and rail for Honolulu. He probably knows well that we need support for rail for the future of our city.
on October 30,2012 | 11:24AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
He did say he does not condone it!
on October 30,2012 | 02:10PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Name the date time and situation where Dan Inouye condemed John White and PRP's slime ads.
on October 30,2012 | 05:08PM
Grimbold wrote:
Uncle DAN is senile already and should retire.
on October 30,2012 | 06:52AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Thanks grim, those remarks from an anti railer, just make the 56% ers go out to vote for rail. Mahalo
on October 30,2012 | 02:19PM
PCWarrior wrote:
I'm not sure Mr. Inouye realizes where he is anymore. He looks old and tired in the pics, and sounds old and tired in his radio commercials. If you want real change in America, bring term limits to members of Congress. Two terms, you out, just like the president.
on October 30,2012 | 01:55PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
You know who else sounds old and tired and acts like he was in retirement for 10 years? Mumble...
on October 30,2012 | 02:20PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Workers for a better Hawaii should just use their real name -- HGEA. Unions love Kirk and Kirk love unions. Payback time will come if Kirk is elected. He owes the union big time and the payback will be BIG.
on October 30,2012 | 04:05AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Workers for a better Hawaii should just use their real name -- HGEA. Unions love Kirk and Kirk love unions. Payback time will come if Kirk is elected. He owes the union big time and the payback will be BIG.
on October 30,2012 | 04:05AM
false wrote:
Endorsements by unions is just another form of "pay to play".
on October 30,2012 | 04:46AM
Giligan wrote:
Unions and rail is the mother of all pay to play.
on October 30,2012 | 06:03AM
wiliki wrote:
Baloy.... unions don't bid for contracts.
on October 30,2012 | 11:26AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 02:21PM
loquaciousone wrote:
If Kirk Caldwell wins, government workers can expect the reinstatement of their 5%pay cuts and huge raises and step movements to make up for the last five years.
on October 30,2012 | 06:40AM
wiliki wrote:
If you feel that way then you should have voted for Carlisle.
on October 30,2012 | 11:27AM
loquaciousone wrote:
You silly thing. You sound so funny when you try so hard to be smart.
on October 30,2012 | 05:10PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Republicans hate unions. They think it's an entitlement.
on October 30,2012 | 02:21PM
Giligan wrote:
Go Ben Go! Run over the unions!
on October 30,2012 | 06:03AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Go Ben Go, go with Gilligan, together you republicans can run over the unions.
on October 30,2012 | 02:23PM
NITRO08 wrote:
Ben will lose cause he loss the trust with the majority of the people of honolulu. The bully Ben only have self interest and the people see that . Give it up non rail supporters your man has loss the election the people wants rail for the future of honolulu not old ideas!
on October 30,2012 | 06:44AM
Grimbold wrote:
NITRO08 you have it all wrong. BEN was living comfortably in well earned retirement with good pensions. But he came out to run - in a very exhausting and nerve wracking election. What self interest does he have? NONE.Tthe only reason is He could not stand how the the people of Oahu would be fleeced and the City bankrupted by special interests - the RAIL. That is he is the reason he is running for election: To save us. He has no self interest this! Common People like me wrote to him and urged him to run!
on October 30,2012 | 07:01AM
NITRO08 wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 07:20AM
NITRO08 wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 07:23AM
Dan_Douglass wrote:
Another Jirk for Kirk.
on October 30,2012 | 08:07AM
wiliki wrote:
When is believing in the truth ever a sign of being a jirk.....?
on October 30,2012 | 11:29AM
false wrote:
Cap lock, cap lock, please see manual page 6 to unlock.
on October 30,2012 | 10:01AM
Shh wrote:
No true. All you rail supporters need to stop lying. You all have to resort to lying because you know that Ben has majority of the votes to take down Rail!
on October 30,2012 | 09:58AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
The polls didn't lie,shhhhhhhhh.
on October 30,2012 | 02:24PM
loquaciousone wrote:
If the City doesn't upgrade their sewer system by the end of the first half of the SuperBowl, NOOA is going to have to issue a preemptive tsunami warning. Can you imagine all the beer drinkers flushing their toilets at the same time.
on October 30,2012 | 07:09AM
loquaciousone wrote:
If the City doesn't upgrade their sewer system by the end of the first half of the SuperBowl, NOOA is going to have to issue a preemptive tsunami warning. Can you imagine all the beer drinkers flushing their toilets at the same time.
on October 30,2012 | 07:09AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Your senile,loq.
on October 30,2012 | 02:25PM
loquaciousone wrote:
You're is the contraction for you are not your.
on October 30,2012 | 05:11PM
McCully wrote:
Caldwell is the the BIGGEST player in pay to play. He accuses cayetano about pay to play, but looks who contributing all his campaign funds, the UNIONS. Just a puppet dancing under the control of his peers. Folks if you want a clean form of govn., vote against the union.
on October 30,2012 | 07:14AM
NITRO08 wrote:
on October 30,2012 | 07:22AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The real winner is the Ali'i Building on Alakea Street which is home to both HART and the PRP. So nice and cozy. Stay in plush downtown offices while telling everyone else to go ride the rails.
on October 30,2012 | 07:28AM
kainalu wrote:
The conservative-controlled U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the elections can be bought. End of story.
on October 30,2012 | 08:34AM
polekasta wrote:
I went to check out the Campaign spending commission's site to see if PRP filed, since PRP didn't file their report by 7pm like how Gordon Pang wrote. As of Oct. 22, 2012. PRP has reported to have spent $2.8 million dollars on this election. Looks like somebody might just be trying to buy the election?
on October 30,2012 | 08:41AM
false wrote:
Now that Caldwell seems to be in the lead, he won't have to call on daughter "Bong Bong Maya and her flamethrower" to burn up any more of Cayetano's signs.
on October 30,2012 | 09:31AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
More muck slinging from anti false.
on October 30,2012 | 02:27PM
false wrote:
Can anyone identity who the heck PRP is besides White? That's is a big bag of money that is being spent.
on October 30,2012 | 09:56AM
kennie1933 wrote:
Ironically, PRP keeps showing ads accusing Cayetano of PAY-TO-PLAY. If Caldwell gets elected, who do you think will be running City Hall? Not Caldwell. He will just be the front man for all the groups that are a part of PRP. Maybe they will "technically" not be pay-to-play, but you can bet that when jobs come available, many of the players will "gently" remind Caldwell that their donations to PRP is what got him elected, if he does win.
on October 30,2012 | 10:14AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Mufi is not running for mayor. why does DefendBen run this?
on October 30,2012 | 02:09PM
MKN wrote:
Here is my question to you all. Why do we have to spend $5.3 Billion to build a rail system when we can spend 1/5th of that money giving businesses tax credits for each worker that telecommutes from home? Also, why not have most of the University of Hawaii students attend classes from home as well via the Internet? Isn't traffic significantly heavier when UH system students go back to class? Finally, why not have city/state employees that are not in customer service positions telecommute from home as well? If they encouraged telecommuting, we wouldn't have nearly as many cars on the road that we have now and we wouldn't have to spend as much money on such a program. You could pay tax credits of $1000 a person and if 100,000 people benefitted from such a program, you could theoretically take that many cars off the road for the significantly lower cost of $100 Million. Even if you gave this credit out each year for 20 years, it still wouldn't cost $5.3 Billion (It would cost $2 Billion over a 20 year period). It's time to think outside of the box and this is one solution that no one is talking about!!!
on October 30,2012 | 04:20PM
Onipaa1 wrote:
Ben shouldn't have released his FAST plan, he cooked it up with little thought and now the polls are showing it.
on October 30,2012 | 06:08PM
mililanihi wrote:
Another skewed poll from Ward Research. Yawn..
on October 30,2012 | 07:39PM