Critics say Hawaii political money hard to trace

Published On: Jan 30 2014 10:18:06 AM HST   Updated On: Jan 30 2014 10:23:13 AM HST

It's been months since the Hawaii Legislature approved same-sex marriage in Hawaii, but taxpayers still don't know how much money supporters or opponents spent to influence the decision.

Lobbyists are supposed disclose how much money they're spending to influence lawmakers, but critics say the state's disclosure system is among the weakest in the nation and prevents a timely and complete tally.

It could be that nothing improper took place, but "if you don't have the information then how do you even know to have a concern?" asked Democratic state Sen. Les Ihara, who has introduced legislation he hopes will strengthen the system.

Ihara's measures aim to close gaps that allowed more than 90 percent of nearly 200 registered individual lobbyists to report zero expenses over three reporting periods last year, according to reviews by The Associated Press.

For their part, lobbyists say they have done nothing wrong and are following the instructions they've been given.


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