So the other day the Hawaii State Ethics Commission posted the new 2014 Gift Disclosure Statements–the annual forms that state legislators and top government officials have to fill out if they accept more than $200 worth of gifts from someone who “has interests that may be affected by official action that you take in your state capacity” during the 12 months between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014 (gifts from inheritances and family members don’t count).
While not every state official filed a form this year (I didn’t see state Senator Roz Baker or state Rep. Angus McKelvey in the new filings), there are a lot of forms to peruse. And if you wade barefoot through them, in no time at all you’ll see that special interests give very different things those in power.
When you’re a high-roller like state Senator J. Kalani English, your Gift Disclosure Statements contain lines like this:
That’s more than six grand in trips. Sweet!
For others, the disclosure statements are long, long lists of very tiny items–fruit baskets, donuts and calendars. Oh man, the calendars. But every once in a while, one of these jumps out at you, like this item I found in state Senator Gil Keith-Agaran’s disclosure statement:
For those who don’t read disclosurese, that means that on Nov. 25, 2013, the big construction firm Goodfellow Brothers gave Keith-Agaran 10 pounds of Fuji apples. Since an apple like that typically weighs about a third of a pound, we’re talking a lot of apples. So many, in fact, that I posted the screenshot on Twitter and asked the senator (@GilKAOGG) about it.
“Goodfellows hail from Washington State & Company’s holiday tradition includes sending boxes of apples- my old law firm got them,” Keith-Agaran tweeted back. “You could certainly bake some pies or tart desserts too but the box had a variety of apples from Washington state.”
Anyway, you can cruise the 2014 Gift Disclosure Statements by clicking here.
Photo: Batholith/Wikimedia Commons