Does anyone else find it interesting that a lobbyist for Monsanto is running the House Leadership PAC? House Leadership by definition is Speaker Scott Saiki and his team.
You really can’t make this stuff up. A Political Action Committee established to support “House Leadership,” is being managed by Emmanuel Zibakalam who is a lobbyist for the largest GMO companies and pesticide manufacturers on the planet. For added value, Mr. Zibakalam is also involved in a “pro-rail” group that appears to be masquerading as a grass-roots community-based organization.
It goes without saying that both groups have a significant financial stake in the decisions made by Speaker Saiki and House Leadership.
Organizational Report for Hawaii House Democratic PAC
The position of PAC Chairperson, the PAC Treasurer and the PAC Custodian of Books and Accounts, are all held by a single individual – Emmanuel Zibakalam.
Mr Zibakalam lists his occupation as Principal at Pacific Business Advocates LLC
Per their website: “Pacific Business Advocates accommodates clients looking for advocacy in the Federal, State, and County arenas. We maintain a constant dialogue with government entities to ensure current information of the rapidly changing political landscape.”
At the very top of their “Sample Client Roster” are: Bayer (Monsanto), Syngenta, Corteva (Dow/Dupont), and the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
Mr. Zibakalam is also a spokesperson for Friends of Rail, a “pro-rail” support group that has been described as a fake grassroots organization (astroturf) backed by rail development interests. See Civil Beat Ian Lind: ‘Don’t be fooled by Friends of Rail’
Mr. Zibakalam has raised $24,750 during the most recent reporting period.
Recent Campaign Contributions by the Hawaii House Democratic PAC are all to Representatives who Speaker Saiki and House Leadership want to “protect.”
Onishi, Richard 08/03/2020 $2,000
Gates, Cedric 08/03/2020 $2,000
Brower, Tom 07/15/2020 $2,000
Eli, Stacelynn 07/15/2020 $2,000
Kitagawa, Lisa 07/15/2020 $2,000
By protecting these Representatives, Mr. Zibalkalam and by extension his clients are protecting the position of House Speaker Scott Saiki.
For Mr. Zibakalam and his clients, this is a twofer. They gain and/or improve their access and influence with regards to these 5 legislators, but more importantly, they significantly increase their access to Speaker Scott Saiki.
This my friends is the definition of “buying influence.” It is of course legal, and yes, Speaker Saiki has some influence when it comes to making laws.
A closing note on “buying influence”: To be clear, for the vast majority of legislators a $2,000 contribution does not buy a vote. But it does buy access. The is a very real “hierarchy of access” and people that help politicians get elected, have greater access than the regular man and woman on the street. Accepting a donation from the House Leadership PAC does not beholden the recipient to the donor, but the donor will in fact gain easier access to the recipient in the future.
Full Disclosure: I am actively and strongly supporting Kim Coco Iwamoto in her campaign for election to the State House, currently held by House Speaker Scott Saiki. Kau’i Pratt-Aquino is also on my “highly recommended” list of endorsements and she is running against incumbent Lisa Kitagawa. My endorsement list and that of Pono Hawaii Initiative, also is supporting Adrian Tam who is challenging incumbent Tom Brower as well as is Shannon Matson who is running against Richard Onishi.