Saturday, September 19, 2015
TOKIOKA CONVICTION INFO CENSORED FROM ON-LINE EDITION OF KAUA`I NEWSPAPER; 'COMMENTARY' REFUTING THREE 'SLANTED' ARTICLES APPEARS IN PRINT EDITION ONLY
(Read the Laurie Cicotello article below)
by Andy Parx
(PNN) -- September 19 -- An "Editorial Viewpoint" refuting articles and letters portraying State Representative James K. Tokioka's campaign spending violations conviction as being a result of nothing more than "a simple mistake" has been refused publication on the web site of the local Kaua`i newspaper.
Despite the on-line publication of three articles and a letter to the editor that were seen by many in the community on social media as slanted to be exculpatory in nature toward Tokioka's actions, the commentary by Kaua`i resident Laurie Cicotello was published in print on Sunday September 13 but was never posted in the on-line edition of The Garden Island's (TGI) thus preventing statewide distribution.
Tokioka's unsubstantiated and unconfirmed claim that he took and "passed" a lie detector test was given prominent play in all three articles, the first on June 28 and the final two on August 28 and September 1 upon his "no contest" plea. A September 16 letter to the editor defending Tokioka (D- District 15- Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihu`e, Puhi, Old Koloa Town) and condemning Cicotello was the only on-line indication that the commentary had been published in Sunday's print edition.
As of press time TGI Editor Bill Burley did not respond to a Friday morning email requesting comment. A source close to the paper told PNN that they never post so-called "Editorial Viewpoint" articles however it was apparently given that moniker by the paper and many other "one-and-off" commentaries have appeared on-line under Burley.
In the unposted piece Cicotello points out that the "Campaign Spending Commission (CSC) investigates dozens of 'mistakes' regarding the untimely or inaccurate filing of campaign spending reports... then assesses a $50 administrative fine for such an honest mistake.
"But in Tokioka's case," Cicotello explained "the Commission referred the matter to the Attorney General (AG) who investigated and then prosecuted Tokioka for violating campaign spending laws with criminal intent.
"In exchange for pleading no contest and accepting criminal responsibility for his actions, the Attorney General charged him with one count of 'reckless' untimely filing and inaccurate reporting," she reported.
Tokioka was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine and make a public apology on his Friends of Tokioka Facebook page. He received a "deferred acceptance" to his plea that will clear his record if he stays out of trouble for six months.
Cicotello went on to describe the series of events following two Tokioka fundraisers in Honolulu that collected "$27,000 before the primary and then failed to report those contributions" and how, despite repeated attempts by the CSC to give him "the benefit of the doubt," he did not report collecting the money and/or file with the body in previous reports and/or by the final report deadline before the election, as required by law. He finally filed the report six weeks later, well after the primary election where the former Republican Kaua`i Councilmember faced his first serious challenge since changing parties and being appointed to the state post.
Even after the sentencing hearing where Tokioka told the judge that he took "full responsibility" for the matter, when meeting with reporters outside the courtroom Tokioka showed no remorse and attempted to blame it all on "his campaign volunteers and his CPA campaign treasurer," stated Cicotello, who attended the sentencing.
In the August 2014 Democratic primary election Tokioka defeated his opponent Dylan Hooser.
Cicotello was a volunteer supporter of Hooser's campaign and, with Maui "good government" attorney Lance Collins, pursued the case with the CSC and AG after she and others- including PNN- made repeated attempts to get Tokioka to acknowledge and file reports of the contributions with the CSC.
A press release from Collins following Tokioka's conviction and describing the case was ignored by TGI in its two post-conviction articles.
During the waning days of the campaign Tokioka repeatedly stonewalled attempts at communication regarding the fundraiser and the lacking reports.
Yet in a TGI article dated July 26, 2014 Tokioka admitted to holding the two fundraisers and failing to list the money collected but he apparently falsely, according to what he told the judge, claimed that leaving them off previous reports was a "clerical error" that he would correct.
But in the final report before the election he failed to do so.
The contributions were primarily from developers, corporations and their employees and lobbyists and included contributions from members of the "biotech" and chemical industry. such as DuPont.
Tokioka has been a staunch supporter of positions on state legislation supported by local subsidiaries of the international chemical cartel in their attempts to defeat proposed GMO labeling laws and, more importantly, to block local county governments from regulating Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) use and the growing of genetically modified foods.
Tokioka's ex-wife Beth Tokioka recently became a spokesperson for one of the self-styled "seed growers" in Waimea and Kekaha on Kaua`i after acting as an operative for and advisor to Kaua`i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. in his opposition to Bill 2491 which required disclosure of the location and amount of use of RUPs and imposed modest buffer zones primarily around schools, waterways and highways.
The bill passed over Carvalho's veto.
The issue was in the forefront of the campaign. Tokioka's opponent Dylan Hooser, was a prominent supporter of the bill and critic of the chemical industry. Hooser's father, long time Kaua`i Councilmember and former State Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, introduced Bill 2491.
The bill became Ordinance 960 but the industry sued the county and it was struck down by a federal magistrate with familial ties to the chemical/biotech industry. The ruling was based on supposed "implied" state preemption despite the fact that no state law explicitly prevents regulation by the counties. Tokioka has since supported failed attempts during the 2015 legislative session to have state law explicitly preempt county regulation of pesticides and "genetically modified" materials.
The decision is on appeal to the federal 9th Circuit court.
Watch for more on Tokioka's campaign finances, legislative votes and industry ties in an upcoming PNN articles.
The following is the article as submitted by Ms Cicotello
Representative James Tokioka pleaded no contest to a criminal charge of failing to timely file or provide accurate campaign spending reports during the primary election last year.
While he told the Honolulu court that he accepts full responsibility and has told the media that it was a “mistake,” his own actions say otherwise.
A mistake is “a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge or inattention.”
The Campaign Spending Commission investigates dozens of “mistakes” regarding the untimely or inaccurate filing of campaign spending reports.
In most cases, the candidate is dispelled of their faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge or inattention, and they correct the error. The Commission then assesses a $50 administrative fine for such an honest mistake.
But in Tokioka's case, the Commission referred the matter to the Attorney General who investigated and then prosecuted Tokioka for violating campaign spending laws with criminal intent.
In exchange for pleading no contest and accepting criminal responsibility for his actions, the Attorney General charged him with one count of “reckless” untimely filing and inaccurate reporting.
Tokioka held two fundraisers in Honolulu and earned more than $27,000 before the primary and then failed to report those contributions.
The Commission gave Tokioka the benefit of the doubt and directed him to correct his mistake immediately to ensure primary voters would be informed.
Instead, Tokioka did not make complete and full disclosure until six weeks later, after the primary.
What does reckless mean? Law Professor C. Stanhope Kenny said, “Intention cannot exist without foresight, but foresight can exist without intention. For a man may foresee the possible or even probable consequences of his conduct and yet not desire them to occur; none the less if he persists on his course he knowingly runs the risk of bringing about the unwished result. To describe this state of mind the word 'reckless' is the most appropriate.”
In other words, Tokioka was prosecuted because he persisted in a course of conduct knowingly running the risk that his actions would violate the law – to prevent the public from knowing his campaign's finances during the election.
That is criminal intent.
Tokioka told the judge that he was taking full responsibility during sentencing.
Then he went outside the courtroom to waiting reporters and blamed his campaign volunteers and his CPA campaign treasurer for his crime.
If they had committed a crime, they would have been prosecuted, but nobody else was prosecuted.
Tokioka's attorney then told reporters that the prosecution was motivated by Tokioka's opponents – insinuating it wasn't based on Tokioka's criminal conduct or the Attorney General's judgment to prosecute him.
Tokioka has shown no acceptance of responsibility for his crime. He has shown no remorse.
There were no mistakes, just reckless disregard for the law.
His statements to the media after his conviction demonstrates that he continues to show arrogant and reckless disregard for the law.
Tokioka should show some shame for the crime he was convicted of and stop trying to excuse it or blame others.