- Associated Press - Thursday, February 5, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A developer-funded foundation and its executive director agreed to pay $2,000 fines each to settle allegations they failed to register as lobbyists with the Hawaii Ethics Commission as required by state law.

David Arakawa is the executive director of the Land Use Research Foundation and lobbied on its behalf between 2008 and 2014 without registering himself or the foundation, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://is.gd/hEfYq8 ).

Also, according to an Ethics Commission report issued Monday, neither Arakawa nor the foundation filed lobbying expenditure and contribution reports during that period as required by law.

According to the commission, Arakawa appeared to have “genuinely misunderstood the law” and fully cooperated with commission staff, immediately registering as a lobbyist when told of the delinquencies. Arakawa is a former Honolulu corporation counsel.

Arakawa declined to comment to the newspaper and did not immediately respond Thursday to Associated Press requests for comment.

Under state law, entities or individuals who try to “influence legislative or administrative action or ballot issue” are required to register within five days of becoming a lobbyist and renew the registration on odd-number years. Exemptions apply to people who possess “special skills and knowledge that may be helpful to the Legislature.”

Commissioners said they don’t believe that exemption applies when the entities or individuals also try to influence action or advocate for a position. Commissioners noted that the foundation’s website describes the organization as an advocate and lobbying group.

The commission report states that the foundation provided testimony before the Legislature that “took advocacy positions and clearly attempted to influence legislative action.”

According to state Business Registration Division records, the foundation’s 11 vice presidents include Carleton Ching, Gov. David Ige’s nominee for leading the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The nomination of the longtime Castle & Cooke Hawaii executive and registered lobbyist for the company has been blasted by critics who say his development industry background makes him poorly suited be the chief land steward for the state.

Arakawa said Ching resigned from the foundation Jan. 29 after serving as a vice president since at least 2006.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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