Hawaii Considers Amending Pay-to-Play Law
A commission to enhance government transparency in Hawaii is weighing a handful of measures aimed at tightening campaign finance laws and reducing the influence of money in politics in a year where several political donors made headlines for alleged bribery. The recent cases led to the creation of the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which plans to come back to the Legislature with proposals on government ethics, elections, and more. The agency in charge of overseeing state campaign finance laws came before the new commission with ideas for eliminating “pay-to-play” schemes.
State law already bans companies from donating to candidates if they are currently working on a government contract. But a loophole in the law still allows employees and officers of those companies to continue making political donations. Staff at the Campaign Spending Commission proposed closing that loophole. Dan Foley, the standards commission chairman, suggested the proposal could be expanded further to cover contractors who bid on projects.
The Commission has until December 2022 to finalize a list of measures to propose in the 2023 legislative session.
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