Government Corruption: Time to double down – If you see something, say something.

Over the past 12 months, Hawai’i government at all levels has been rocked by headline after headline, exposing the criminal activity of a wide range of public officials.

Sitting in jail at the moment, or awaiting sentencing, we have a former Kauai County Councilmember, a former Hawaii County Councilmember, a former Honolulu police chief and his wife a former deputy city prosecutor, up to five current and former employees of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting, a former State Senator and Senate Majority Leader from Maui, and a former State Representative and Vice-Chair of the House Finance Committee from Waipahu.

In addition, there are several top administrators of the City and County of Honolulu under indictment, numerous government contractors who have pled guilty to bribery, and ongoing federal investigations at all levels of government.

The laws broken include accepting bribes to grant building permits, accepting bribes to pass and kill bills at the legislature, methamphetamine sales, stealing from emergency COVID funding, influence peddling involving non-bid contracts, and other complex crimes too bizarre to describe here.

The above is just a partial description of the elected officials and government employees who’ve been caught in the act and found guilty. It would be naive to think there are not others currently awaiting the next investigatory shoe to drop.

It would also be naive and destructive to believe that all politicians are crooks and/or that government corruption is commonplace.

I believe in my heart that the vast majority of public employees are good and honest people. It is sad and unfortunate that the actions of a few have so tarnished the integrity of the many.

While we may differ as to our “world view” and our perspectives on what public policy initiatives might best address the challenges facing our community, I believe the number of elected leaders who are literally and illegally stealing from the public trust are an extreme minority.

But no matter how small or how large their numbers, they must be rooted out.

The Department of the Attorney General and the Hawai’i State Ethics Commission have set up several ways to confidentially report fraud, waste, or abuse involving any government official, government funds, government workers and/or persons & entities awarded government contracts.

* Submit an online complaint (https://ethics.hawaii.gov/fraud_complaint/);
* Leave a confidential voice mail message at 587-0000
* Email: anti-fraud@hawaii.gov

In addition:
FBI “tip line” is https://www.fbi.gov/tips

FBI field office:
91-1300 Enterprise Street
Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 566-4300

The Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice:

1301 New York Avenue, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Main Line: (202) 514-1412
Fax: (202) 514-3003

As the saying goes, “If you see something, say something.”

In addition, our elected leaders must double down on implementing anti-corruption measures.

Tightening up the oversight and rules governing non-bid contracts at both the state and county level and banning fundraising during the legislative session for state lawmakers are two obvious things that need to be done. Requiring full disclosure when any lawmaker at any level introduces, promotes, or votes on an issue that impacts their employer or their clients is another essential reform needed now

We need to clean this mess up. Lawmakers, administrators, rank and file government workers, and private citizens – we must all step up to make it happen.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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2 Responses to Government Corruption: Time to double down – If you see something, say something.

  1. Frank DeGiacomo says:

    Gary, love your spirit, but the the AG’s office and the Ethics Commission are where corruption tips go to die. Sorry, but I have personally witnessed it too many times.

    Try the FBI field office instead:
    91-1300 Enterprise Street
    Kapolei, HI 96707
    (808) 566-4300

    Not the best historically, but at least a better shot than the AG, Prosecutor, Ethics, of local PD offices.

    And *maybe* the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice:

    1301 New York Avenue, 10th Floor
    Washington, DC 20005
    Main Line: (202) 514-1412
    Fax: (202) 514-3003

    Former AG Connors might bury it though, so try the FBI field office first though.

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