The vast majority of Hawaii’s lawmakers don’t invest in stocks or mutual funds, according to their public financial disclosure statements.

The finding is surprising, given that more than half of Americans have market investments.

In a review of the disclosures of all 76 state legislators, Civil Beat found that 22 percent, or about one in five members of the Hawaii House of Representatives, reported that they own stocks or mutual funds. Thirty-two percent of the members of the Hawaii Senate, or about one in three, claimed the same.

The executive director of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, Les Kondo, told Civil Beat the findings make it appear that there’s “some misunderstanding” on the part of lawmakers. Taking into account past areas of confusion, Kondo said the statute governing financial disclosures could be simpler, but that instructions, both formal and informal, paint a relatively clear picture.

“If people read the instructions, which the Ethics Commission has published, that comes along with the (disclosure) form and is on our website, we have examples of stock ownership being listed under the section,” Kondo said. “I don’t know what we should do to help them read the instructions, or make them read the instructions. We have some responsibility, given that it appears there’s some misunderstanding.”

In April, national pollster Gallup published a report, indicating that 54 percent of Americans “hold individual stocks, stock mutual funds, or stocks in their 401(k) or IRA.” That number is down from 65 percent in April 2007.

But among college graduates, which, most Hawaii lawmakers are, the percentage of Americans owning stocks or mutual funds rises to 73 percent. Americans with an annual income of $75,000 or more are even likelier to invest, with 87 percent owning equities.

Financial disclosures are documents lawmakers and some public employees are required by law to file annually. They detail income, income sources and other financial ties, offering a means to scrutinize policy makers’ associations.

Among the items the filings must include are “the amount and identity of every ownership or beneficial interest held during the disclosure period by you, your spouse, or any dependent children in any business in or outside of the State where that interest has a value of $5,000 or more or is equal to 10 percent or more of the ownership of the business, including, but not limited to, stock,” according to an instructional form posted online by the Ethics Commission. It should be noted that officials are not required to report “retirement accounts such as 401(K)s and IRAs, or accounts held
under the deferred compensation plan for state employees.” (About 1 in 6 Americans had a 401(k) prior to the Great Recession.)

Regarding mutual funds, the instructional form states: “If you, your spouse, or any of your dependent children is a shareholder of stock or mutual fund(s), you must report the number of shares owned or the approximate value of the stock or mutual fund(s).” Politicians and public employees can find further clarification in chapter 84 of Hawaii Revised Statutes.

In the Hawaii House of Representatives, 11 of the 51 members disclosed ownership of either stocks or mutual funds.

Of those 11, some seemed to take particular care in detailing their assets.

Speaker of the House Calvin Say, for example, attached an additional page to his disclosure, listing shares in more than a dozen companies. Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran did the same, including an attachment with stock ownership in three companies.

It isn’t that lawmakers ignored the “Ownership or Beneficial Interests in Businesses” section, where stocks and mutual funds are meant to be included on the filings. Many disclosed varying degrees of ownership in ventures, ranging from real estate to production companies.

But, for the most part, stocks and mutual funds were missing.

A complete list of representatives that disclosed stocks or mutual fund ownership is below:

House of Representatives

Representative Disclosed Ownership In Stocks or Mutual Funds
Henry James C. Aquino None
Karen L. Awana None
Della A. Belatti None
Thomas M. Brower None
Rida T.R. Cabanilla None
Diana M. Carroll None
Jerry L. Chang None
Corinne W.L. Ching None
Dwight P. Chong None
Isaac W. Choy Yes
George D. Coffman None
Ty J. Cullen None
Cynthia F. Evans Yes
George R. Fontaine None
Faye P. Hanohano-Kaawaloa None
Sharon E. Har None
Mark J. Hashem Yes
Robert N. Herkes None
Linda E. Ichiyama None
Kenneth T. Ito None
Aaron L. Johanson None
Georgette “Jo” Jordan Yes
Derek S.K. Kawakami None
Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran Yes
Chris K. Lee None
Marilyn B. Lee None
Sylvia J. Luke Yes
Joey Manahan None
Barbara C. Marumoto None
Angus L.K. McKelvey None
John M. Mizuno Yes
Daynette S.P. Morikawa None
Mark M. Nakashima None
Scott Y. Nishimoto None
Blake K. Oshiro None
Marcus R. Oshiro None
Kymberly N. Pine None
Karl A. Rhoads None
Gilbert R. Riviere None
Scott K. Saiki None
Calvin K.Y. Say Yes
Joseph M. Souki Yes
K. Mark Takai Yes
Roy M. Takumi None
Cynthia H. Thielen None
James K. Tokioka None
Clifton K. Tsuji None
Gene R. Ward None
Jessica E. Wooley Yes
Ryan I. Yamane None
Kyle T. Yamashita None

In the Senate, relatively more lawmakers disclosed stocks and mutual fund ownership, but the number was still far below the national average. Eight of Hawaii’s 25 senators reported such interests.

Senate President Shan Tsutsui’s disclosure shows he has interests in four companies, including IBM, Exxon Mobile, Intel and American Capital Mutual Funds.

The full list of senators who included stocks or mutual funds in their disclosures is below:

Senate

Senator Disclosed Ownership In Stocks or Mutual Funds
Rosalyn H. Baker Yes
Suzanne N. Chun Oakland None
Donovan M. Dela Cruz None
J. Kalani English Yes
William C. Espero None
Carol A. Fukunaga Yes
Gerald M. Gabbard None
Brickwood M. Galuteria None
Joshua B. Green None
Clayton H. Hee None
David Y. Ige Yes
Les S. Ihara, Jr. Yes
Gilbert Kahele None
Michelle N. Kidani None
Donna M. Kim None
Ronald D. Kouchi Yes
Clarence K. Nishihara None
Ellen L. Pohaikaua Ryan None
Maile S.L. Shimabukuro None
Samuel M. Slom None
Malama A. Solomon Yes
Brian T. Taniguchi Unclear
Jill N. Tokuda None
Shan S. Tsutsui Yes
Glenn S. Wakai None

For a slice of what other government officials reported in their disclosures: Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and recently appointed Board of Education Chairman Don Horner all indicated they own no stock or mutual funds, according to their filings.