In our quest to share government records that are required by law to be public, Civil Beat has run into some roadblocks.

So, we thought we’d ask the governor candidates where they stand on government transparency. Here’s what they had to say.

Democrat Neil Abercrombie responded to Civil Beat’s question saying, “Obviously if it’s the taxpayer’s money, people ought to know where it’s going.”

Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, the Republican nominee said, “There should be no secrets in our spending, in any department really, there should be no secrets, right? It’s your money. So, in the spending and the revenues that come in, why should there be any secrets?”

Both candidates also added caveats.

Abercrombie said his time in Congress showed him there were times when keeping information secret was a matter of national security.

“I have participated in so-called black box budget operations in armed services over the 20 years,” he said. They were kept secret for national security reasons. Even then, he said, “You have to be careful with that always because that can become a blanket excuse for all kinds of skullduggery,” Abercrombie said.

Aiona too, noted that there were some limitations. “I’m all for transparency obviously because if we choose to work in the public, we give up the right to certain privileges. Privacy is a privilege.”

But, he added, “I’m going to be perfectly honest, I think that the media, they overstep their bounds at times.”

Aiona then reiterated his belief in financial transparency in government: “The bottom line is that absolutely there needs to be a transparency. There needs to be disclosure. I mean, I’m calling for it right now in public schools. I’m asking for an audit. The people in the DOE and BOE might think that I’m being oppressive on that or I’m being in some way unfair.”

Read the full text of the candidates’ answers:


DISCUSSION: *What do you think about the candidates’ views on transparency? Jump into the conversation.

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