Hawaii earned perfect scores in the State Integrity Investigation for its rules covering how political parties can be financed.

The state got a B, or 86 percent, grade for Political Financing, earning us 3rd place among 50 states. Only Connecticut and Rhode Island scored higher. Wyoming came in last.

Overall, the State Integrity Investigation ranked Hawaii 10th after Civil Beat reporters researched 330 “Corruption Risk Indicators” across 14 categories of government. (Click here to learn more about the methodology used for the project.)

Bottom line: This is not an area where Hawaii looks weak. The state gets full credit for regulations limiting individual and corporate donations to political parties.

Here’s the basis for the 100-percent grade that contributed to the overall 86 percent score for political financing. It’s your turn to evaluate whether Civil Beat got it right and to share what you think should be done to improve the situation. Share your comments at the bottom of this story.

Here’s the first question the State Integrity Investigation asked about political financing.

Are there regulations governing the financing of political parties?

Overall score: 100%

Here are the criteria Civil Beat used to answer that question and what Civil Beat found.

1. In law, there are limits on individual donations to political parties.

Notes: Yes, there are limits on individual donations to political parties. The maximum donation limit is $25,000 in any two-year election period.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, E. Contributions; Prohibitions; Limits Generally, §11-360, Contributions to a party. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0360.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are limits in size on individual contributions to political parties. A YES score is also earned if individual contributions are prohibited.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no limits on contributions from individuals. A NO score is also earned if limits are applied by the government on opposition parties in a discriminatory manner.

2. In law, there are limits on corporate donations to political parties.

Notes: Yes, there are limits on corporate donations to political parties. According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, corporations are considered individual donors under the law, so the maximum donation limit is $25,000 in any two-year election period.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, E. Contributions; Prohibitions; Limits Generally, §11-360, Contributions to a party. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0360.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria:
These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are limits in size on corporate contributions to political parties. A YES score is earned if corporate contributions are prohibited.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no limits on corporate contributions to political parties. A NO score is also earned if limits are applied by the government on opposition parties in a discriminatory manner.

3. In law, there are limits on donations from political action committees to political parties.

Notes: Yes, there are limits on donations from political committees to political parties. The maximum donation limit is $50,000 in any two-year election period.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, E. Contributions; Prohibitions; Limits Generally, §11-360, Contributions to a party. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0360.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are limits in size on contributions by political action committees to political parties. A YES score is also earned if contributions by political action committees are prohibited.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no limits on contributions from political action committees. A NO score is also earned if limits are applied by the government on opposition parties in a discriminatory manner.

4. In law, there are limits on lobbyists’ donations to political parties.

Notes: Yes, there are limits on lobbyists donations to political parties. According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, lobbyists are considered as an individual donation under the law, so the donation limit is $25,000 in any two-year election period.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, E. Contributions; Prohibitions; Limits Generally, §11-360, Contributions to a party. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0360.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there are limits on the size of lobbyists’ contributions to political parties. A YES score is also earned if lobbyists’ contributions are prohibited.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no limits on contributions from lobbyists. A NO score is also earned if limits are applied by the government on opposition parties in a discriminatory manner.

5. In law, there are requirements for the disclosure of individual donations to political parties.

Notes: Political parties are required to disclose names, addresses, job titles and employers of those making contributions of more than $100 during an election period. The reports are available on the state’s Campaign Spending Commission’s website at (http://hawaii.gov/campaign/view-reports/noncandidateviewreports).

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, D. Reporting and Filing with the Commission, §11-335, Noncandidate committee reports. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0335.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 contributions to political parties.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no requirements mandating the disclosure of contributions to political parties, existing regulations do not require a donor’s name or amount given, or the regulations allow for anonymous donations.

6. In law, there are requirements for the disclosure of donations to political parties by corporations.

Notes: Corporations are required to file a report for contributions totaling more than $1,000 over a two-year election period to candidates or candidate committees.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, D. Reporting and Filing with the Commission, §11-332, Filing report by corporations. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0332.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 contributions to political parties by corporations.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no requirements mandating the disclosure of contributions to political parties, existing regulations do not require a donor’s name or amount given, or the regulations allow for anonymous donations.

7. In law, there are requirements for the disclosure of donations to political parties by political action committees.

Notes: Yes, political action committees are required to file a report for contributions totaling more than $100 during an election period.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XII. Campaign Finance, D. Reporting and Filing with the Commission, §11-335 Noncandidate committee reports. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0335.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 contributions to political parties by political action committees.
No: A NO score is earned if there are no requirements mandating the disclosure of contributions to political parties, existing regulations do not require a donor’s name or amount given, or the regulations allow for anonymous donations.

8. In law, there are requirements for the independent auditing of the finances of political parties when financial irregularities are uncovered.

Notes: When the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission hears complaints or finds anything suspicious, then they will investigate. The commission can only look at what people report, but will follow up if irregularities are found, according to executive director Kristin Izumi-Nitao. The commission tries to do a thorough job as possible, she said.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, B. Campaign Spending Commission, §11-314, Duties of the Commission. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0314.htm for details.

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 the independent auditing of party finances and expenditures when irregularities are uncovered. 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 political parties’ finances and expenditures when financial irregularities are uncovered. A NO score is also earned if such requirements exist but allow for parties to self-audit.

9. In law, there is an agency or entity that monitors the financing of political parties.

Notes: The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission enforces the state’s campaign finance laws.

Sources: Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 11 Elections, Generally, Part XIII. Campaign Finance, B. Campaign Spending Commission, §11-311, Campaign spending commission establish; composition. Visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0011/HRS_0011-0311.htm for details.

Score: 100%

Scoring criteria: These are the scoring criteria for this question.
Yes: A YES score is earned if there is an agency or set of agencies/entities formally assigned to monitor and enforce laws and regulations around the financing of political parties. A YES score is earned even if the agency/entity is ineffective in practice.
No: A NO score is earned if there is no such agency or entity. A NO score is also earned if this monitoring is solely carried out by the media and CSOs.

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