HONOLULU (KHON2) — Retired Judge Randal Lee said it takes just one bad allegation to tarnish the reputation of an entire office.
He added that transparency is key when it comes to those who enforce the law.
“We talk about transparency, and it’s important. Maybe the first step is to be transparent, but it starts from the top,” Lee said. “Mr. Kaneshiro was the leader and he led by a poor example because, you know, he abused his power as the prosecutor based on the allegations here.
The indictment was handed down by the United States Attorney’s Office in San Diego and filed in a Honolulu court. Lee said that — in and of itself — is telling.
“Why? That we don’t even trust the people within Hawaii to investigate Hawaii,” Lee said.
Common Cause Hawaii — a grassroots organization promoting open and honest elections — said the people need to look at officials with a sense of scrutiny and push to curb the influence of big donors and corporations.
“And so, I mean, we need to look at it from a different lens,” Common Cause Hawaii Executive Director Sandy Ma said, “this is campaign finance reform that we need, we need publicly-funded elections.”
Lee agreed and said that message needs to come from those in office who truly represent their constituents.
“I think the courts and the judges need to be responsible and accountable and I think they need to put people in jail and send the message: ‘We’re not going to tolerate this kind of stuff,'” Lee said.
Ma added that these kinds of allegations hurt the public’s faith in government and the best way to restore that faith is to make our voices heard.
“It just, you know, destroys the public trust even more — if it could be destroyed even more — just incredibly shameful, the actions he’s been charged with,” Ma said. “We’re voters, you represent us and not special interests and we’re not going to take this anymore.”