[I updated this post on July 21 to include quotes from an Arakawa donor who attended the Feb. 28 fundraiser]
Even strippers don’t often pull in more than a grand for four and a half hours of work, but that’s what comedian Andy Bumatai made for his appearance at Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s big Feb. 28 campaign bash at the Grand Wailea Resort, according to Arakawa’s most recent campaign finance statement on expenditures. In fact, that statement shows Arakawa’s campaign spent a considerable portion of the incumbent mayor’s already considerable bank account on the party:
Grand Wailea (venue): $38,791.42
Grand Wailea (food): $16,666.56
Mutual Underwriters (insurance): $389
Andy Bumatai (entertainment): $1,047
Ace Printing (tickets): $129.43
Thom Foster (rental of eight palm trees): $100
The grand total bill for the gala fundraiser: $57,123.41. One Arakawa donor who attended called the event “a show of strength,” designed to strike fear into the hearts of potential challengers.
“Bumatai was funny, worth whatever they paid for him,” the donor said. “He even apologized for cracking jokes so soon after the plane crash on Lanai. A class act all the way. The food was good, drinks over-priced by the Tsunami party afterwards was fun. Pricey night but worth the money. Probably the place to be if wanted to hobnob with the who’s who of Maui.”
Whether it was worth it in a financial sense is another question.
Simply totaling up every contribution the Arakawa campaign took in on Feb. 28 brings us to $46,405.36, which on the face of it would indicate that the big event wasn’t too wise an investment. But Lynn Araki-Regan, Arakawa’s campaign manager, says the campaign finance statements don’t provide such a clear picture on how much the event brought in.
“In discussing this matter with the Treasurer, it really is a timing issue,” said Araki-Regan in a July 17 email. “Many of the donations received were after our 2/28/14 Gala. The campaign spending reports online does not provide an accurate report of monies raised and expenses incurred for any specific event. Some donate during a certain time period but it’s not necessarily for an event like the Gala.”
In any case, the most recent campaign finance statement shows that in the first six months of 2014, the Arakawa campaign brought in $165,022.02. And since Arakawa has more than $357,000 in the bank to play with during the race–money none of his five (or perhaps four) challengers have any hope of countering, it’s probably a moot point.
Still, $16,666 is a lot of money for one night’s worth of food.
Photo courtesy Grand Wailea