HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A special House committee voted unanimously on Friday to support State Rep. Calvin Say in a residency challenge. A group of voters had argued that the longtime lawmaker spent most of his time at his in-law's home in Pauoa Valley which is outside his district. The panel, however, found no compelling evidence that showed Say intended to live anywhere except his house in Palolo.
"If you have a process that takes as long as a parking ticket to resolve, you can't expect there to be a thorough investigation, so disappointed but not surprised at the result," said Lance Collins, the attorney for the petitioners.
"We spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on it and, not surprisingly, we reached the same conclusion that the four other bodies that looked into the matter reached, which was that Speaker Emeritus Say was qualified," explained State Rep. Karl Rhoads, chair of the special committee.
Say did not attend the hearing, but released the following statement:
"The House special committee has done its due diligence and found, like other investigative bodies before it, that there is no basis for this challenge. For me, I hope we can finally put this behind us and get on with the people's business. Throughout the nine years of these challenges, I have seen these matters put squarely in the hands of my constituents and they have seen fit to return me to office each time. I look to focusing on matters of concern to my constituents and to all of the voters of Hawaii."
The panel's recommendation will now be voted on by the full House.
After the hearing, two women involved in the petition filed a police report against Rhoads for allegedly disclosing confidential voter information, including their address and phone number. During the committee's investigation, Rhoads discovered that the women no longer lived in the district, disqualifying them from taking part in the petition. Rhoads shared the voter registration information with Say's attorneys who then submitted the data to the committee as publicly-accessible evidence.
"Putting enough personal information for somebody so that someone can go to their house or go open up a line of credit in their name is totally inappropriate. It doesn't serve any legitimate purpose whatsoever," said Collins.
Rhoads denied that confidential information had been revealed.
"A complete red herring. The petitioners withheld information that was pertinent to the investigation, withheld it from the committee, and withheld it from Speaker Emeritus Say who had every right to the information," said Rhoads.