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Trump-like retaliation here at home

April 13, 2017 - 12:05am

During this legislative session, Sen. Glenn Wakai made false claims that the Hawaii Tourism Authority is excessively spending and had bad financial practices.

At a hearing, Sen. Wakai said, “I’ve heard of some very, very suspicious spending patterns here.” (Honolulu Star Advertiser). Further, he said, “That’s what I’m finding out as I dig through the numbers that you have reluctantly given to me, and I’m sure I’m going to find a lot more questionable practices in the future.” (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

He failed to disclose that his wife worked there previously and it looked more like it was in retaliation for her being treated poorly. See Kevin Dayton’s Star Advertiser article about it. Then Rick Fried pressed Sen. Wakai by asking him for any evidence of wrongdoing. Like Trump going after Obama’s spying, Sen. Wakai never provided any information that rose to that level. Rick mentioned that HTA passed their annual financial audit which didn’t point out any “material” problems.

Not stopping where he should have, the senator introduced a resolution (SCR 72) to do a management audit in the Senate and then Rep. Richard Onishi (HCR 202) introduces the same proposal in the House. HCR 202 was heard by Rep. Onishi, but no one testified in support. SCR 72 was heard and passed because Sen. Wakai chaired the committee. In total, maybe three people supported Wakai’s proposal.

When SCR 72 wasn’t considered by WAM, Sen. Wakai and Rep. Onishi issued a statement saying that “there is overwhelming support for an audit of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)” when there actually wasn’t.

Why is Rep. Onishi looking and sounding more like he is helping Donald Trump?

Jared Kalanikou is a Kailua, Oahu, resident, formerly of Hilo

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