Proposed Bill Aims to Make SuperPACS More Transparent

February 4, 2015, 2:16 AM HST · Updated February 7, 9:42 AM
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District 11 State House member elect, Kaniela Ing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

District 11 State House member elect, Kaniela Ing. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

Rep. Kaniela Ing has introduced a new bill to make SuperPACs more transparent and curb political spending. House Bill 1475 would require SuperPACs to reveal their top ten donors, and require corporations to get shareholder approval before making independent political contributions.

The proposed bill comes in the wake of a record amount of outside money spent last year to influence Hawai‘i elections–much of it from Mainland groups and obscure donors.‘

“Money in politics is a bipartisan issue that gets worse every year,” said Rep. Ing. “Last year, groups spent over $10 million to push their interests in Hawai‘i, and that’s not even counting the actual candidate committees. Elections should be about the best ideas, not the biggest bank accounts. We cannot continue to allow the special-interests of an elite, often out-of-state few, drown out the democratic voice of many.”

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By requiring shareholder approval for political spending, Ing believes that business owners will be held accountable to the interests of their employers. The new regulations may also discourage exorbitant spending by corporations in politics. Ing also believes that by disclosing the top donors, the true interests of SuperPACs can be revealed and made visible to the public.

“SuperPACs tend to take on populist names like ‘Citizens for x’ or ‘Concerned Hawai‘i Families Against y,’ when in reality the SuperPAC represents just a few large institutions< said Ing. “This practice is egregiously misleading, and it’s time we reveal the truth.”

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