The League of Women Voters strongly supports S.B. 439, H.D. 1 which authorizes the State Ethics Commission to impose an administrative fine not to exceed $500 for a violation of the state ethics law.
We have always believed that the Ethics Commission should be given the ability to enforce compliance with all provisions of the ethics code. Without the enforcement power, the staff is put through a great deal of inconvenience in wasted time and frustration, sending reminders and tracking compliance especially, we think, with submission of disclosures of financial interests.
I remember a session of one of the Honolulu City Council’s committee many years ago, where the same problem was addressed involving the Honolulu Ethics Commission. The commission’s executive director was discussing the difficulty they have enforcing compliance with the disclosure law in a timely fashion, and the difficulty in even reaching some of the delinquents. It was quite revealing, and stressed the need for some enforcement power for any watchdog agency.
Just overlooking the delinquency after repeated attempts is not an option because it would only lead to further non-compliance. Any law passed is not worth the paper on which it is printed unless those affected are expected to comply with the provisions of the law. There must be consequences for non-compliance.
We urge the passage of S.B. 439, H.D.1. Thank you.