The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has fined the Land Use Research Foundation and its executive director, David Arakawa, $2,000 apiece for lobbying lawmakers between 2008 and 2014 without being registered.

Arakawa cooperated fully with the investigation and has filed the missing reports for himself and LURF, according to a resolution from the commission this week.

“He apologized, took full responsibility, and explained that his failure to file reports was based on a misunderstanding of HRS section 97-2(e)(6), which exempts any person from the Lobbyists Law if he or she possesses special skills and knowledge that may be helpful to the legislature and makes an occasional appearance at the request of the legislature,” the resolution says.

State Ethics Commission, ethics checklist

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has fined lobbyists for failing to register for the past six years.

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The commission found him to be at fault because while Arakawa was providing his expertise, he was also advocating for a position and trying to influence legislative action.

Arakawa registered as a lobbyist last March after media scrutiny by The Hawaii Independent.

His registration statement lists numerous areas in which he expected to lobby. His expense reports for 2013 and 2014 show that he spent no money on lobbying.

LURF’s own website touts one of its strengths as being a “strong and effective advocate and lobbyist.”

The site says the group promotes the business interests of landowners and developers in Hawaii at the local, state and federal levels of government, working to change laws and policies to crate a more favorable business climate.

Longtime Castle & Cooke lobbyist Carleton Ching, Gov. David Ige’s controversial appointee to head the Department of Land and Natural Resources, was one of LURF’s vice presidents until he stepped down last month.

Read the full resolution here.

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