The Sunshine Blog: Green Sports Hefty War Chest, And The Carpenters Dish Out Donations - Honolulu Civil Beat

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The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

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Fields of green: Gov. Josh Green promised he would not hold campaign fundraisers during the legislative session from mid-January to early May, and he kept his promise.

But he did hold a fundraiser May 19 at the Pacific Club (where the maximum suggested donation was $5,000) and another June 25 in Denver ($6,000 suggested maximum). Both paid off handsomely, with large contributions coming from across the state and even from the mainland.

Green, who is not up for reelection until three years from now, took in $466,922 in donations from Jan. 1 through June 30, most a result of the May-June fundraisers. He now has $590,971 cash in his war chest.

Who gave to the gov this year? The better question might be, who didn’t?

The Sunshine Blog will drop just a few names here: developer Jeff Stone, banker Paul Yonamine, attorney Rick Fried, insurance executive Tim Johns, investor Jay Shidler, philanthropist Elizabeth Grossman, Kobayashi Group’s Patrick Kobayashi, gas executive Alicia Moy, electric executive Jim Kelly, lobbyist Ross Yamasaki, health executive Hilton Raethel, Honolulu official Esther Kiaaina, consultant Ashley Lukens, restauranteur Eddie Flores, shipping executive Kuuhaku Park and someone named Walter Dods.

The Blog apologizes if your name was left off this list. It’s nothing personal; there are just too many to mention. You can check out his full list of donors this reporting period here. And of course full candidate committee reports are available and searchable on the Campaign Spending Commission site.

Green’s campaign also dropped $191,827 in spending with large chunks going to fundraising, digital media and other consultants.

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Second in command: Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke raised $58,710 during the January-June period, bringing her cash on hand to $128,486.

Donors of note include Honolulu Police Commission member Ann Botticelli, Meredith Ching of Alexander & Baldwin, Kaneohe Ranch executive Mitch D’Olier, Micah Kane of the Hawaii Community Foundation, consultant Jennifer Sabas, lobbyist Bob Toyofuku, shipping executive George Pasha, Rebecca Ward of Ward Research, the Hawaiian Airlines PAC and a bunch of attorneys.

Luke also paid Del Frisco’s Double Eagle in Washington, D.C., $734.18 for food and beverages for a fundraiser.

Rep. Sylvia Luke speaking at the Democratic Party of Hawaii Unity Breakfast on Sunday 14th, 2022. CivilBeat Photos Ronen Zilberman.
Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke is starting to bring in some campaign cash even though she is not up for reelection for another three years. (Ronen Zilberman/Civil Beat/2022)

If I were a carpenter redux: If the governor was raking in the green, the Hawaii Carpenters Political Action Fund was dishing it out. It gave more than $110,000 in donations from May to late June, with much of the individual donations in the low four figures.

Most of the recipients were state legislators including Reps. Scott Saiki, David Tarnas and Nadine Nakamura and Sens. Donovan Dela Cruz, Glenn Wakai and Angus McKelvey. Other notables include Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, Maui County Councilwoman Yuki Lei Sugimura and Honolulu City Councilman Tyler Dos-Santos Tam.

Noncandidate committees like the Hawaii Carpenters Political Action Fund typically shovel a lot of cash to lots of candidates. But, at least during the last six months, the PAC seems to be in a league of its own.

By comparison, well-established players such as Alexander & Baldwin Inc. PAC gave just $8,250 to some of those same officials listed above.

A group of new U.S. quarters. Donations to Hawaii politicians has not been small change this year. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Similarly more modest donations came from Central Pacific Bank State PAC ($6,150), Hawaii Government Employees Association ($4,500), Hawaii Ironworkers Stabilization Fund PAC ($8,600), Hawaii Medical Service Association Employee Political Action Committee ($7,300), Hawaiian Airlines Inc. Political Action Committee ($9,850,) HSTA PAC ($1,750), Local Union 1186 IBEW PAC Fund ($12,750), Matson Navigation Company ($9,050), MK Advocacy Group ($28,500), Outrigger Hotels Hawaii Political Action Committee ($2,000, all of which went to Josh Green), Street Bikers United ($7,300), Turo Inc. ($6,000, to Green again) and Young Brothers Limited Political Action Committee ($6,800.)

If the trend continues, expect the carpenters to be major players — at least in terms of campaign money — in the 2024 election. Again. Or should we say as always.

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About the Author

The Sunshine Editorial Board

The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board focused on ‘Let The Sunshine In’ are Patti Epler, Chad Blair and Richard Wiens.

Latest Comments (0)

It was well documented that PRP/Carpenters essentially got Green into office with its huge donations and as logic would dictate that trend continues forward. PRP didn't like Cayatano for mayor and spent enough money to slander him out of office (side bar: they admitted such, got a slap on the wrist and paid a nominal sum to one of Ben's non profit choices). If you follow the money, aside from the altruistic cause of building affordable housing, what industry does this directly impact to the billions of dollars? Ding, ding, ding, the carpenters union and other related trades. Re-distribution of wealth through tax and investment dollars to the biggest political juggernaut in Hawaii. You notice there is never any talk of creating a trailer park, or bring in any type of quick prefab homes that could be set up by general laymen, it all has to revolve around union workers, period. Kind of how local government runs, pure union ruled labor. But, who represents the people, or more importantly the taxpayer? The only way to start this conversation is with public financed elections. It's a start to limiting outside influence on candidates.

wailani1961 · 1 month ago

This big club,, pay-to-play method of operation is so entrenched that it’s completely wiped out politicians of character — honest, dedicated, public service minded, statesperson leaders. It’s unpleasant to be subjected to stewardship of the unsustainable.

kateinhi · 1 month ago

We need to let public financing of elections be on the voter ballot because we cannot count on the legislators to pass something that would unseat many of them.Did Lt Gov Sylvia Luke hold fundraisers during the legislative session? That part of the article was not clear. I thought that was not allowed.

citizens_united · 1 month ago

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