Hawaii – Corruption

Picture of a Man Holding Money

By; T. Jeffersonian


President Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”. This wise warning is closely related to “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men”. This is perhaps the best-known quotation of the 19th Century British politician Lord John Dalberg Acton.

Hawaii is primarily led by a Democratic Party establishment and their political financiers focused on tax and spend, decide for the constituents’ policies. Behind all this veneer is corruption. Due to this corruption, Hawaii under the Democrats is truly a modern-day Animal Farm where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Here in Hawaii, there is an interesting twist and expansion of Robinhood’s principle “Take from the rich and give to the poor”. Here in Hawaii, the principle is “Democrat leaders take from all, give a little bit back to the poor, and then keep the remainder for themselves”.

Every year, the independent anti-corruption organization, Transparency International
releases its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report, an analysis of misconduct in the public sector of regions around the world. According to the most recent CPI report, the United States ranked 23rd out of 180 countries examined. While the U.S. has consistently ranked far better in comparison to most parts of the world, the CPI indicates that since 2015, corruption has been steadily increasing across the country. Out of the 50 states, CPI ranked Hawaii as the 38th most
corrupt state in the Union.

Ordinarily, this would be considered a descent report considering that we are slightly more corrupt that our population size (40th) and slightly less corrupt that our taxation size (35th). In CPI’s forthcoming snapshot for Hawaii, you will see a unique acronym (S.W.A.M.P.) which stands for States with Anti-Corruption Measures for Public Officials. Here is the CPI’s breakdown of Hawaii’s ranking:


• Public corruption convictions per 10,000 residents: 24
• Adverse action reports filed from 1990 to 2020: 1,221
• Medical malpractice reports filed from 1990 to 2020: 1,217
• S.W.A.M.P. index score: 64 out of 100 (0 being the most corrupt)
• State integrity score: 69 out of 100 (0 being the most corrupt)
• Corruption Index Score: 19.79

The context behind this report renders its results suspect. When one political party
controls all branches of government as in Hawaii, there are fewer checks, balances, and oversight. Observe these two mainland examples – Chicago and Washington D.C. Chicago and Washington D.C. both exclusively controlled by Democrats, just like Hawaii. Chicago is ranked by CPI as the most corrupt city in America. Conversely, Washington D.C. at 49th is ranked less corrupt than Hawaii. Washington D.C. is exclusively led by Democrats and is directly administered by the U.S. Congress.

When all U.S. territories are considered with the other states on the CPI report, Washington D.C. is the most corrupt in the United States. Comparatively since 1964,
Washington D.C. has voted overwhelmingly in favor of Democratic candidates. Since 1976, only one national election saw Washington D.C. vote less than 80 percent in favor of the Democratic nominee for President. One would think that there is better cooperation when one party controls all branches of government, but if that were the case, Governor David Ige would not have assumed the leadership of a state $600 million in debt, and now $1.4 billion in debt.

Projects such as the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) and the H-3 would not have had the cost and time overruns that were encountered were it not for corruption. If this state were not corrupt, more
affordable housing would have already been built as opposed to those houses closer to the median costs per island. Permits for building affordable housing would have been executed, rather than repurposed for alternative energy production.

Yes, the most high-profile corruption cases in Hawaii have been Democrats but this is not a slam-dunk indication of Hawaii’s political integrity. It is most likely an indication of one corrupt politician and their political financiers being taken out by a series of other corrupt politicians and their financiers. One party has been double crossed or wants to remove a political opponent or an opponent’s external financing.


Just this past week, a parade of former City Prosecutor for Honolulu, Keith Kaneshiro’s campaign donors testified before a federal grand jury, hearing evidence against the former City of Honolulu Prosecutor. Six of those who testified were all tied to Mitsunaga & Associates, an architectural and engineering firm known for its political connections. The company’s website shows some of the many government projects the firm has been awarded. Anyone who works with government contracts knows that you are awarded the bids based on who you know and not on how low you bid and how well and fast you can provide results. One of the donors who
testified was Mitsunaga & Associates construction consultant Dennis Mitsunaga. He gave money to support Kaneshiro’s campaigns for prosecutor in 2012 and again in 2016.

The other donors were all employees or relatives of employees at Mitsunaga & Associates. Both Kaneshiro and his financiers are being removed by someone who wants to take their places of power and income. It is interesting that Kaneshiro was once referred to as “The Law-and-Order Man of the Democrats”. The powerful Democrat served as the prosecuting attorney for Honolulu for two terms from 1988 to 1996, then again from 2010 until 2020. In 2019, he was named a target in a
now widening Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) public corruption scandal that had already taken down his deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. Due to the scandal, Kaneshiro chose not to run for re-election in 2020.

It now appears the federal grand jury is hearing evidence surrounding the false prosecution of a former employee of Mitsunaga & Associates. The woman
was fired in 2011 and filed a sex and age discrimination lawsuit in 2012. She lost that civil claim in 2014. Months later, Kaneshiro’s office prosecuted her for a crime she did not commit ― felony theft. Neither the Honolulu Police Department nor the state Attorney General’s Office were involved, just investigators and prosecutors working for Kaneshiro. The theft case against the woman was thrown out by Circuit Court Judge Karen Nakasone whose powerful opinion in that ruling pointed a finger back at the Prosecutor’s Office for having done something
improper. Many of the federal grand jury witnesses subpoenaed were also named as witnesses in the false prosecution of the former Mitsunaga employee which seems to indicate that the federal government doesn’t just believe Kaneshiro was protecting Kealoha, but that there may be wrongdoing on his part, too.


Hawaii is corrupt. The Kaneshiro corruption case is the Mauna Kea atop the submerged mass of corruption that is this Democrat led state. With Democrats controlling all the branches of state and local government and with their powerful financier, we the state’s citizens have to do our very best to monitor and report where Hawaii’s portion of the $1.9 trillion Stimulus Package will be spent, otherwise the poor will get just a little bit, the rest of us will be marched closer to poverty, while the Democrats and their vast state financier network get a whole lot richer and
powerful.