Corporations, unions, political parties and other organizations form committees, also known as political action committees (PACs), to generate money to help the candidates of their choice.
In Hawaii, those committees are free to make direct campaign contributions and other expenditures – such as those on advertisements and mailings — to support or oppose candidates as long as they report their spending. They can receive and spend unlimited amounts of money, although there are limits on how much they can give to a particular candidate — $2,000 to $6,000 depending on the office. “Noncandidate” committees also can’t accept more than $1,000 from a single donor.
Civil Beat reviewed campaign organization paperwork filed with the Campaign Spending Commission since January 2011 — the start of the 2012 election cycle — and found 82 committees that are either independent expenditure committees or political action committees. It’s impossible to know for sure which candidates or issues some groups are supporting or opposing because state law doesn’t require them to reveal that.
However, the Campaign Spending Commission maintains a list of the independent expenditure committees that have apparently identified that information on their paperwork. So far, the state has registered five such groups: A Better Hawaii, Hawaii Solutions, Kauai Women’s Caucus, MADPAC Hawaii and Pacific Resource Partnership.
“Organizational Report” filings published on the commission’s website reveal that a slew of other PACs have already jumped on the elections bandwagon this year as well.
Noncandidate committees must file organizational reports within 10 days of receiving contributions or making expenditures that amount to more than $1,000 in a two-year election period, according to the commission’s website.
But the next batch of reports that detail how money is being raised and spent aren’t due until Aug. 1, less than two weeks before the Aug. 11 primary election. Candidates must file their finance reports by July 12.
The list of PACs includes a lot of familiar names: hotels (Outrigger, Turtle Bay), corporate giants (GlaxoSmithKline, Monsanto), unions (Operating Engineers Local Union 3, HGEA). But some names are less obvious, like A Better Hawaii or Change Hawaii.
Here’s the full list of the noncandidate political committees that have registered with the state so far for the 2012 election cycle.
A Better Hawaii
Allstate Insurance Company
Aloha Family Alliance
American Council of Engineering Company of Hawaii
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Assurance Financial Partners, LLC
Automated HealthCare Solutions
Bank of Hawaii Corporation Special Political Education Committee (State PAC)
Bill Mills Development Co., Inc.
Central Pacific Bank
Citizens for Responsive Government
CP Investment REIT
Edward Enterprises, Inc.
Electrical Contractors Association of Hawaii
Eli Lilly and Company
Environmental Caucus of Democratic Party of Hawaii
EWM Investments, LLC
Farmers Insurance Hawaii Employees
Green Solar Transportation, LLC
Hawaii Electrical Workers, Local 722
Hawaii Financial Services Association
Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA)
Hawaii Insurers Council
Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry Stabilization Fund
Hawaii PV Coalition
Hawaii Republican Party
Hawaii Republicans for Life
Hawaii Solar Energy Association
Hawaii’s Children First
IBEW Local 1260 Voluntary Political Fund
IBEW Local Union 1357
International Brotherhood of Boilermarkers – LEAP
Irongate AZREP BW LLC
Kauai Women’s Caucus
Leo A. Daly Company
Maui Land & Pineapple Co., Inc.
National Federation of Independent Business Hawaii Safe Trust
Native Hawaiian PAC
NCL America / Polynesian Adventure Tours
Oahu League of Republican Women
Office and Professional Employees International Union – JB Moss Voice of the Electorate
Operating Engineers Local Union 3
Orthopaedic Fellowship Group LLC
Outrigger Hotels Hawaii
P&R Water Taxi, Ltd.
Pacific Resource Partnership
Progressive Hawaii Now
Protect our Keiki
Prudential Locations LLC
Quality Care Products, LLC
Realtors PAC of Hawaii
Republican Women’s Club of Kauai
Save Ewa Beach
Subcontractors Association of Hawaii
The Dow AgroSciences LLC (Employee PAC)
Trinity Investments LLC
Turtle Bay Resort, LLC
United Health Group Incorporation
University of Hawaii Professional Assembly
UNITE HERE TIP State and Local Hawaii
West Oahu 2010
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