WASHINGTON — Of all the people donating to U.S. Rep. Ed Case’s 2020 congressional campaign there’s one name that sticks out.

In fact, it’s the only name — Paul DiNino.

Case reported in his latest Federal Election Commission filing on Monday that he only raised $475 from individual donors during the first quarter of 2019, and that $250 of it came from DiNino, a Washington, D.C., lobbyist who used to work for retired Democratic senator Harry Reid.

Congressman Ed Case Talk Story at Campbell High School.
Congressman Ed Case talks to his constituents during a “Talk Story” event at Campbell High School in Honolulu. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The remaining $225 came from individual donors who gave Case less than $200 each, meaning FEC rules didn’t require disclosure of their identities.

Still, Case was able to raise nearly $78,000 during the first three months of the year.

Almost all of that money — 99.4% — came from political action committees.

In 2018, Case raised nearly $564,000 in his bid for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. At the time, only $74,000 came from PACs. He also loaned his campaign more than $151,000.

Some of the industries donating to Case’s 2020 campaign include those affiliated with hotels and tourism, such as Marriott International, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and Hilton Worldwide, and those with interests in sugar.

Case’s top two PAC donors — which each gave $10,000 to his campaign — were the American Crystal Sugar Company PAC and the American Hotel & Lodging Association PAC.

Case, who is on the House Appropriations and Natural Resources committees, is a former executive with Outrigger Enterprises, which is a top operator in Hawaii’s $18 billion tourism industry.

Two of Case’s Democratic House colleagues, Ted Lieu of California, and Bill Foster of Florida, gave money to the congressman’s 2020 re-election bid. So too did the Blue Dog PAC and the New Democrat Coalition.

Case also received thousands of dollars from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America PAC and the National Beer Wholesalers Association as well as from committees associated with defense contractors, such as General Dynamics, Honeywell International and Raytheon Company.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono doesn’t have to worry about another election until 2024. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Other companies whose PACs are giving to Case include Walmart and Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Case’s PAC donor list also includes the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and the Chickasaw Nation. As a congressman, Case promised to fight for the rights of Native Hawaiians.

Case’s fundraising, of course, pales in comparison to his Hawaii colleague, Tulsi Gabbard, who’s putting her congressional bid on pause while she runs for president.

Gabbard reported raising more than $1.9 million during the first three months of 2019.

Hawaii’s senators, meanwhile, had relatively low-key fundraising quarters, according to FEC reports that were also filed Monday. Neither is up for election in 2020.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, who’s become a Democratic lightning rod since President Donald Trump took office, raised just over $58,000 in the quarter.

Hirono, who is 71 years old, easily secured a new six-year term in the Senate in 2018, which means she won’t be up for election until 2024, when she’ll be 77.

She reported having nearly $1 million in cash left over at the end of the reporting period.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s campaign reported raising more than $33,000 in the quarter. Schatz, who isn’t up for election until 2022, has more than $2.6 million in the bank.

Support Civil Beat during the season of giving.

As a small nonprofit newsroom, our mission is powered by readers like you. But did you know that less than 1% of readers donate to Civil Beat?

Give today and support local journalism that helps to inform, empower and connect.

About the Author