House Majority Leader Scott Saiki says his proposed legislation to prohibit a sitting governor or county mayor from holding outside employment or receiving emoluments is inspired by President Donald Trump, not Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Caldwell is being paid at least $200,000 a year, in addition to his city salary of $164,928, as a member of the board of directors of Territorial Savings Bank.

“It’s important as a matter of state law to clarify that a full-time governor or full-time mayor should be free of any potential conflict that arises from dual employment,” said Saiki. “In Hawaii there should be a consistent standard that applies to the governor and mayors.”

Territorial Savings Bank. 22nd floor signage, 1032 Bishop Street. 20 june 2016
Territorial Savings Bank pays Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at least $200,000 a year for what he says is about about two hours of work per month. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Caldwell’s connection to Territorial was criticized heavily by his opponents in the 2016 mayoral election. They said the second gig represented a conflict of interest and was ethically inappropriate.

The Caldwell campaign said he had received clearance for the work, which amounts to about two hours a month separate from his mayoral job, from the Honolulu Ethics Commission.

A Caldwell spokesperson had no comment on the proposed legislation, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Aaron Ling Johanson and Sylvia Luke.

The bill would not apply to state lawmakers, who Saiki said work in a part-time capacity.

Many people may not have known what the word “emolument” meant until recently, when it surfaced as a potential problem for Trump.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a lawsuit Monday accusing Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause, “which bars presidents from receiving payments from foreign governments, including businesses owned by governments.”

Trump said Monday the suit is “totally without merit.”

“Emoluments” is defined in Saiki’s measure as “any salary, fee, payment, wage, earning, allowance, stipend, honorarium, or reward; provided that “emolument” does not include the salary or benefits for service as governor or mayor or any pension, retirement, or social security payment.”

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