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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

SB 2252

Relating to
Campaign Financing

Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations (JGO) - chair: Taniguchi, vice chair: Takamine

Tuesday, February 9, 2010, 10:00 a,m. Conference Room 016

Testifier: Jean Aoki, LWV of Hawaii

Click here to view SB2252

Chair Senator Taniguchi, Vice Chair Senator Takamine, members of JGO Committee,

The League of Women Voters supports those parts of this bill that indicate the intended amendments clearly.

SB 2252 presents a clear and complete discussion of what ballot issue committees can do and that which they cannot do. Some of our earlier concerns about ballot issue committees have been addressed very well here. This bill goes further and addresses something that had not occurred to us. Ballot issue committees are generally finite groups organized to support or oppose one or more issue questions on the ballot. When the election is over, the purpose for their existence is gone. This bill clearly addresses this by laying out the process for the termination of their registration with the Campaign Spending Commission.

This bill while restricting individual contributions to noncandidate committees to an aggregate of $1000 in a single election, leaves the limits on contributions by corporations using money from their treasuries, blank. In Citizens United v FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court left in in place the ban on money from corporate treasuries going into their PACs. We suggest that we follow this example.

The section on the filing of reports and the allowed penalities for failure to file the reports in a timely manner, or substantially defective or deficient reports gives the commission the leeway for assessing the fines or not. Yet criteria to help make the determination are not provided. This has the ppotential for speculation and distrust of the whole system. We suggest clearer and more definite guidelines, or preferably, leaving in the “shall”.

Thank you for this opportunity to testify on SB 2252.


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