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Hawaii Deputy Attorney General Ethics Violation Complaint

Here is the link for submitting an Ethics Complaint: https://ethics.hawaii.gov/reportethicsviolation/#complaint

This complaint can be submitted anonymously.

Numbered below are the fields and information that could be submitted for a complaint, and reference what was witnessed during the Elections Commission meeting on 16 January, 2024.

If you choose to use this information, please summarize the red text below in your own words.

1. What state agency/agencies are involved?*

Hawaii Attorney General’s Office, Deputy Attorney General Reese Nakamura

Office of Elections, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago

Elections Commission and its members

2. Describe the possible violation(s) of the Ethics Code or Lobbyists Law.*

Deputy Attorney General Reese Nakamura is the defense attorney for the Chief Elections Officer, Scott Nago and the Office of Elections.

Deputy Attorney General Nakamura also participates and provides advice during meetings of the Elections Commission.

The Elections Commission charter is to hold hearings, receive evidence, and investigate complaints regarding the conduct of elections.

How can the same Deputy Attorney General provide counsel to the commission that is empowered to investigate violations, and simultaneously defend against elections violations?

Isn't the Deputy Attorney General essentially providing counsel to opposing parties?

The Attorney General’s Office is supposed to "...be vigilant and active in detecting offenders against the laws of the State, and shall prosecute the same with diligence..." See HRS 28-2.

How can the Deputy Attorney General be unbiased in detecting and prosecuting offenders of state laws if they are defending those offenders against the allegations of an offense?

This appears to be a gross ethical violation and conflict of interest.

3. Who are the people involved? If a state employee is doing something wrong, in which department/division does the person work? Are there other witnesses with whom we should speak?*

Deputy Attorney General Reese Nakamura as defense for the Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago and as counsel for the Elections Commission.

4. What are the approximate dates of these incidents?

Video of Election Commission meeting on 16 January 2024: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RjnoNJRiG8

5. Please provide any other details that may help us investigate these matters.

Reference the duties of the Attorney General (HRS Chapter 28), the duties of the Elections Commission (HRS Chapter 11), the Hawaii Standards of Conduct (HRS Chapter 84) and the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct.

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