By Derrick DePledge
Two state lawmakers have complained about anonymous fliers urging constituents to contact them on gay marriage.
House Vice Speaker John Mizuno and Rep. Linda Ichiyama have told Hawaii News Now they are frustrated by the fliers, which they claim include false statements about the impacts of gay marriage. Common Cause Hawaii was also critical of the anonymous messages, which make some debateable arguments about gay marriage but are not libelous or particularly inflammatory. Hawaii News Now has identified a local church as the source.
State campaign-finance law sets disclosure requirements on election-related messages, restrictions that are under frequent challenge because of the potential conflict with free speech. There are no similar disclosure requirements in the state ethics law on grassroots lobbying messages like the fliers targeting Mizuno and Ichiyama.
Anyone who spends $750 or more on lobbying in a six-month period, however, must file spending statements with the Ethics Commission. The next reports are due on January 31, well after this month's special session on gay marriage.
Individuals or groups that fail to file spending statements could face administrative fines.
Leslie Kondo, the commission's executive director, said that, under the law, the commission must show that the failure to file was wilful, and not simply an oversight or mistake.