Pat Saiki, the chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, says local Democrats “are whining” about television ads produced and paid for by an independent group.

“All that complaining is a convenient way for Democrats to try to shift voters’ attention from the facts,” said Saiki, who believes it is appropriate to point out state Rep. Mark Takai’s record on taxes.

Saiki was responding to Democrats’ preemptive strike last week against a group called American Action Network, which began airing ads Friday here through a $300,000 advertising buy to help Republican Charles Djou in his 1st Congressional District race Takai.

Pat Saiki and Miriam Hellreich 8.23.2014

Pat Saiki and Miriam Hellreich are optimistic about the GOP’s hopes in 2014.

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

“Some of the political TV ads now running – and the one that Takai is most concerned about – are done by so-called independent expenditure committees,” said Saiki. “These are committees that cannot have any ties to a political campaign. Whether we like them or not, the independent expenditure committees are now a fact of political life and have the backing of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Saiki said that it was “interesting” that Hawaii Democrats are not also complaining about outside money that is helping Takai. The groups include VoteVets.

“Let’s get real and focus on the facts,” she said. “And these are the facts: Mark Takai has said, on the record, that he would support raising taxes; and, the public record shows he supported a bill that would have taxed pension payments.”

Asked for a response, Democratic Party of Hawaii Coordinated Campaign spokeswoman Caroyn Tanaka told Civil Beat that the GOP was reacting to Democrats’ statements on Djou’s own record with “wildly distorted claims.”

“Actions speak louder than words and Charles Djou’s record of action shows that on campaign finance he’ll say one thing to Hawaii voters in order to get elected,” she said. “But when push comes to shove he’ll stick with Republicans in Congress instead of Hawaii families.”

Tanaka said that, in 2010, after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5175, the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act.

The legislation, she said, would have required disclosure of donations to organizations like American Action Network, “prevented government contractors and foreign corporations from spending money in U.S. elections, and improved the amount of public information about who is paying for and behind political ads.”

The legislation was endorsed by Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and other groups, said Tanaka, who said that Djou stood with Republicans in Congress and voted against the bil.

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