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Winter 1978

Spring 1978

Leaguers Running for Con Con '78
Ka Po'e - The People Are the Source of the Law
ERA - Hawaii (Barbara Dykes)
All Leagues Meet
Campaign Spending: Public Financing for Hawaii?
How to Be an Effictive Lobbyist
What Hawaii Means to Me (Dorothy Marsh)
Energy Program: Science for Citizens
Help Wanted
Action Alert

Campaign Spending: Public Financing for Hawaii?

Public financing for Hawaii?

The legislature will again be examining various bills on campaign spending. Some of the proposed legislation that will be given serious consideration this year will deal with public financing of elections.

Concern has been growing about the ever increasing election costs. There is one legal way to impose expenditure ceilings that is to make public funds or services available to candidates. The candidates will have the option of whether they will accept them or not. If they accept they will come under spending limitation.

Other ways to finance elections include matching funds (the way the Presidential race was handled), flat grants, franking privileges, free T.V. or other media time or space. The state of New Jersey uses the matching fund system for the governor's race only, while Minnesota used a flat grant system for all its races. Canada and some of its provinces use a combination system with free media time and a percentage repayment after the election if enough votes are won. Canada also employs a tax credit system where by fairly large contributions can be made and part of the amount may be deducted from the donor's income taxes.

All of these systems are expensive and still have "bugs" in them. The legislature will have to be very cautious in adopting any of these measures. A careful study of cost, qualification of candidates, administration of funds, and enforcement machinery should be done before jumping into any form of public financing.

IN THE MEANTIME.... Our present spending law needs amending and the League recently has given testimony to the House Judiciary committee on problem areas. The loopholes allowing large anonymous contributions and exempting non-political organization donors from reporting must be closed if the law is to be meaningful. The occupation of contributors of' over $100 should be required along with the address on the forms. This will benefit the public and reporters in identifying the relationship between contributors and special interest, if any. The present system of penalties must be changed. The criminal penalties, though only petty misdemeanors are complicated to set in motion and quite time consuming. Hawaii might pattern its law so that the end result is timely disclosure.

Leaguers can help by letting Senator Nishimua (Chairman-Senate Judiciary Com) and Representative Garcia (Chairman-House Judiciary Committee) and their own representatives know that they want a law that will work.

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