Tag Archives: Kai Kahele

Elections 2022: Josh Green and Nomi Health Donations

Lt. Governor Josh Green and the executives of Nomi Health show a pattern of campaign donations that should be further scrutinized.

This is an excerpt from USA TODAY which has a paywall to read. However Civil Beat is in partnership with this article:

Hawaii’s Gubernatorial Elections will be against Republican Judge Duke Aiona and Democrat Lt. Governor Josh Green.

Nomi, Chief Executive Mark Newman and others associated with the company have since December given almost $35,000 to Hawaii Democrats, with the majority going to Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the Democratic nominee and front-runner for governor, campaign finance records show. There were no contributions to Republicans, who have little political clout in Hawaii.

Nearly all of the campaign contributions to Hawaii politicians, including several running for the Legislature and lieutenant governor, came after Nomi announced in December that it had secured $110 million in new investor money. The company then purchased at least three more businesses, including Artemis Health, which gave nearly $5,600 to Green about six months after the acquisition.

Newman previously told USA TODAY that campaign contributions were made in part so that Nomi could continue to “be at the table” and compete for future health contracts against other businesses.”

Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission who has practiced campaign finance law for 45 years, told USA TODAY that it appears Newman wants to sit at more tables.

Money buys access,” Noble said. “It’s a big problem and leads to a distorted government, and it is part of the system we have right now. The fact that he is willing to say it out loud is how far we have fallen.”

What is interesting are also the observations from Congressman Kai Kahele:

“Kai Kahele, a U.S. congressman who lost to Green in the Democratic primary for governor, released a 47-minute video in late July that questioned why Nomi and Newman were invested in a political race so far away from Utah.

Kahele told USA TODAY that Newman will have allies in the governor and lieutenant governor should the Democratic ticket win in November.

He said that while the contributions from Newman and Nomi associates are much smaller in Hawaii than what was given in politically red states, the dollars add up, and open the door to political access for state contracts.

“It just smells fishy,” Kahele said, “Something is not right.”

Elections 2022: Are Corporate Media nasty copycats?

It appears Civil Beat’s Nick Grube first broke the story of Congressman Kai Kahele’s “proxy” votes on April 11, 2022. Unfortunately, this “proxy” report spun out of control without much verification and undermined Kahele’s campaign.

Grube wrote that: “Kahele’s absence has not gone unnoticed, according to two Washington-based lobbyists who spoke to Civil Beat on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to do so by their firms.

” . . . on the condition of anonymity” caught my attention. My first instinct was to google-search Congressman Kahele’s voting record. Voting by “proxy” is still a vote. Remember we’re undergoing a COVID19 pandemic.

Public information shows Congressman Kahele has a good record. Why was this critical public information not part of Grube’s reporting?

From Jan 2021 to Aug 2022, Kahele missed 6 of 869 roll call votes, which is 0.7%. This is better than the median of 2.1% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving.

Unfortunately, the Civil Beat’s negative reporting of Kahele’s “proxy” lit like a wildfire. Other corporate media jumped on the bandwagon and added their own headlines. Social media comments and trolls continued the negative connotations against Kahele.

One has to ask if this was an intended negative politicking, the first salvo to undermine Kahele.

Does Civil Beat not like Congressman Kahele as it obviously does not like former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard?

Or did this article about Kahele’s “proxy” vote (with the assumption of no intended malice) simply spun out of control?

Should the public should be alarmed with this type of reporting?

Should readers be less dependent on corporate media for facts and information?

Are corporate media copycats of each other without verifying first?

Unfortunately, this was one negative salvo that Congressman Kahele could not contain.

Social media perpetuated the “proxy” vote as if Kahele had gone AWOL. Congressman Kahele is our District Representative. We were impressed and pleased with his “boots in the ground” style for Hawaii residents. He’s been present at Honolulu city council and other community meetings. This may be unconventional but he certainly could not be described as having a “chronic allergy to Capitol Hill“. Proxy votes are allowed.

Additionally, the reporting of Congressman Kahele’s job with Hawaiian Airlines was negatively skewed as well. in 2021, Kahele has had a total of 14.2 flying hours and made less than $2,861.90.

This reduction of Kahele’s salary is not as alarming as the increased income of Hawaii’s Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green, another gubernatorial candidate.

The Office of the Lt. Governor is a full-time position paying $165,552.00 a year. Dr. Green has continued to practice his medical career for the past 18 years. His recently formed Green Health International LLC reportedly saw an increase of about $1M. This gubernatorial candidate has thus far stone-walled calls for answers to these sources of income to his LLC.

Elections 2022: Since when did questioning or expecting accountability of a public official “nasty”?

Hawaii’s Gubernatorial has three top-contenders for the position. The incumbent Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green has the tendencies to embellish events and information during this campaign. The Sierra Club and Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition recently publicly protested against Dr. Green’s inaccurate advertisements and in claiming credit to promote himself. Other residents have reported Dr. Green for Free Speech violations by deleting or blocking their comments and so on

Second District Congressman Kai Kahele is a Hawaiian native, with a strong and outspoken personality who is not afraid to question the establishment and to ask for clarity and disclosures. Kahele is also a combat veteran, pilot, and a commissioned officer in the Hawai’i Air National Guard.

Vicky Cayetano has not pursued this Hawaiian-based issue against Josh Green like the native son of Hawaii has.

The Controversy – Hawaii’s Department of Hawaiian Homestead Lands (DHHL) is notoriously known for its long waitlist to service housing for Hawaiians. Many Hawaiians have passed away without being served.

Dr. Josh Green, a white man who is married to Jaime Green, a part Hawaiian, has on multiple occasion embellished his mother-in-law’s history – “Jaime’s mum passed away in her 40s from cancer while on the list”.

However, DHHL says their records could not substantiate that his mother-in-law has or had been an applicant on its wait list. But that does not mean that she might have been qualified to receive an award.

Other Hawaiians are resisting the gubernatorial candidate on this issue, including the former Gov. John Waihee, the first governor of Hawaii ancestry to Civil Beat:

“If she didn’t die on the list, then they should immediately correct that because there are a lot of people whose relatives did die waiting on that list,” Waihee said. “I don’t know what to tell you except you shouldn’t say those kinds of things if they aren’t real.”

Kai Kahele was more plain in his remarks to Hawaii News Now:

“Kahele claims Lt. Gov. Josh Green lied when speaking about his mother-in-law and Hawaiian Home Lands in order to score political points.

“Saying it once could be a mistake, but continuing to say it again is something that needs to be addressed,” Kahele said. “If you want to be the governor of this state, words matter.”

Response from the political pundit raises questions:

HNN political analyst Colin Moore says he can’t remember a time when local politics has been this “nasty.” “Jamie Green’s mom died when she was 42. There’s a person at the center of this and that is the failure of the state of Hawaii to provide people homes,” said Moore.

The political pundit’s response raises these questions:

  1. When was questioning and setting the facts straight from a political candidate for a public office considered “nasty“?

2. What about accountability from a candidate? What if the son-in-law Green did NOT embellish his mother-in-law’s history to gain affinity votes from Hawaiians?

The public and other candidates have the right to question and DUTY to set the record straight in a democratic election. Political pundits should remember to be objective and circumspect of the issues in favor of the public good.

Elections 2022: Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green continues to stonewall questions about his campaign finances

Vicky Cayetano and Kai Kahele held an unprecedented joint press conference in Honolulu on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 in an effort to get answers from Dr. Josh Green.

Questions have been raised about Dr. Josh Green’s sources of income to his Green Health International LLC at various forums. But an agitated Green always stonewall those questions by quickly responding with his usual ” I’m being attacked” ploy. The Corporate media does not question the candidate further after that.

On July 31, 2022, an article again reported Dr. Green’s stonewalling – – “His campaign declined to release the names of those entities.” That was that.

In the interest of an OPEN and TRANSPARENT government, these questions should be answered now, not after the elections. The public has the right to know. Green has a record of being a “pay to play” politician.

Lt. Governor Dr. Josh Green, though not an epidemiologist, positioned himself as the expert of COVID 19 management these past pandemic years. The Federal government infused about $18 Billion into Hawaii during these confusing and fast-paced years.

Hawaii’s most recently received $1.6 BILLION in pandemic relief funding provided by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in 2021. There were other earlier funds from the CARES Act and direct relief to residents totaling about $18 Billion.

Jill Tokuda reported in May 9, 2021:

Approximately $350 million of our CRF funds was allocated to respond to the immediate health crisis. COVID testing, contact tracing and public health expenses represented more than $1 out of every $4 CRF dollars.

The Press Conference is worth listening to. The full-time Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii has an annual salary of $165,552. Dr. Josh Green has continued to work as an “emergency care” doctor. Additionally, his Green Health International LLC increased in income these past years.

The public is curious and has the right to know. Dr Green should just disclose the sources of his increased income to his private LLC willingly.

Elections 2022: Campaign Finance Reform can begin with our vote

The Honolulu Star Advertiser hosted a digital town hall on June 29, 2022 for the top three presumptive gubernatorial candidates – Vicky Cayetano, Josh Green, and Kai Kahele.

Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji hosted the hour-long program.

For those who did not watch the Star Advertiser Spotlight Forum, I’m highlighting the Campaign Finance Reform issue.

About the 50:00 timeline, Representative Kai Kahele retorted at Lt. Governor Green’s comments about leading by example:

” … for the Lt Gov Green to talk about leading by example, frankly, it’s a joke because his (Green) campaign is funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars by outside mainland donors, corporations, special interests, big pharma, maxed dollar donors , wealthy individuals from the mainland that want to control the economic and political life of this state.”

Green was visibly irritated and quickly responded that he was disappointed by Kahele’s “attack” and it was not appropriate as he (Green) was a “hardworking doctor and Lt. governor “.

Green again implemented the red herring fallacy to distract from his own record and accused Kahele of “sensationalism”. Green proceeded to accusing Kahele’s of donations from indicted Mitsunaga and others.

However, it must be noted that this federal indictment case is very specific. It’s focused on the Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro who received donations from Mitsunaga & Associates to prosecute one of Dennis Mitsunaga’s former employee.

Kahele should have brought up Green’s most egregious Pay to Play quid pro quo . The Carpenter’s Union donated about $1M at the last minute to Green in 2018 to edge over Jill Tokuda.

Green in turn dutifully appointed one of its union officials as his Chief of Staff.

Is money buying elections?

Isn’t this a blatant example of PAY TO PLAY?

Green’s action is very significant because the Chief of Staff controls the office of the Lt. Governor and its operations. His Deputy Chief of Staff is from the Healthcare Sector. His Senior Policy Advisor is from the Insurance sector.

I didn’t take it as an “attack” when Kahele highlighted Green’s donations from the mainland interests, unions, maxed out donors, big pharma, and so on.

Candidates cannot run away nor be offended by their own record. The Public has every right to question and raise concerns to hold the candidate accountable.

This is why Campaign Finance Reform is so critical. If this cancer is not controlled, candidates who are willing to play along with special interests groups will continue to receive donations. With these big donations, candidates are able to hire staff for their campaign, pay for expensive social media, television ads and so forth.

Candidates can literally reinvent themselves with sophisticated media propaganda and manipulated narratives for their desired outcome. The Status Quo continues.

Voters may feel outgunned and overwhelmed by campaign finance concerns. But elections are won vote by vote.

Voters have the power. Voters can make a conscious choice to boycott candidates with big donations from special interests.

Voters also need not feel the pressure to tell any one who they voted for.

Happy 4th of July!