State ethics commission concerned over ‘Children and Youth Day’ funding

Local News

A fight between the head of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission and lawmakers could be headed to the Attorney General.

Ethics head Les Kondo says he’s been raising concerns for years about lawmakers spending their time, using their staff, and using their taxpayer-funded discretionary spending accounts to help with the annual “Children and Youth Day” event.

Kondo says it’s not a state activity.

On Thursday, Kondo once again raised concerns.

Lawmakers told us they’ll stop using Capitol time and money on the project for now, but plan to get a second opinion.

KHON2 asked Rep. John Mizuno, (D) Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, if this will be in place as soon as this year’s event.

“Absolutely positive, lest we anticipate getting an ethics violation against us,” Rep. Mizuno responded. “We’ll look at some of the concerns and if we think it’s overreaching we can also ask for the attorney general’s opinion.”

Last year, Always Investigating looked into how lawmakers were spending their “discretionary funds,” which are meant for things for their office and duties.

Looking over that spending from 2013 and 2014, lawmakers spent more than $3,000 to help organize the “Children and Youth Day” event.

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