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April 20, 2004



TO:                  ALL CITY AGENCIES







The following guidelines on campaign activities are based on Section 11-102(c), Revised Charter of Honolulu (RCH),[1] relating to compatibility with official duties, and Section 11-104, RCH,[2] relating to fair and equal treatment.  Examples of prohibited campaign activities are for illustration only and are not meant to be all-inclusive.


No City officer or employee is permitted to:


1.      Use City time, equipment, material, or premises for campaign activities or purposes.


a.       City time means the actual time during which a City officer or employee is supposed to be performing City duties.  City time excludes lunch time or vacation time.


b.      City equipment includes, but is not limited to:  copying machines, telephones, facsimile machines, typewriters, computers, and motor vehicles.


c.       City material includes, but is not limited to:  stationery, paper, envelopes, and stamps.


d.      City premises include City offices, conference rooms, and working areas.  City premises or facilities that are available for public use may be used for political activities on the same basis as the facilities are available to the public.


Candidate "walk throughs" are no longer permissible.


e.       Campaign activities or purposes include:  (1) selling, purchasing, or distributing campaign fundraiser tickets; (2) conducting political meetings; (3) distributing campaign literature or materials; (4) soliciting campaign assistance, support, or contributions; or (5) producing campaign literature or materials.


2.      Use City personnel during City working hours for the purpose of performing campaign tasks or activities.


3.   Use the City mail or messenger service for campaign purposes.


4.      Use his or her official title or position to give a special advantage to a political candidate or campaign.


a.       City personnel may not make a political endorsement that gives a special advantage to a political candidate or campaign or that may reasonably be interpreted as an official endorsement of the candidate or campaign by the City or one of its agencies.  In most cases, the mere identification of a City officer's or employee's official title or position, without more, will not be prohibited.  However, endorsements that go beyond the mere identification of one's title or position, such as the use of an official uniform in connection with campaign activities, are likely to imply the official endorsement by the City or agency and would be prohibited.


b.      City personnel may not use their official positions to coerce anyone into contributing time or money to a campaign, such as by soliciting contributions from businesses inspected by City personnel.  City personnel must also avoid combining official business with soliciting campaign contributions or assistance.


5.   Use the City seal on campaign stationery or on campaign literature, materials, or advertisements.  City personnel should avoid referring to opponents in campaigns in materials bearing the City seal.


Each officer and employee should review his or her department's standards of conduct for any further restrictions on campaign activities.


A violation of the City's ethics laws may result in disciplinary action such as reprimand, probation, demotion, suspension or discharge.  Elected City officers may be impeached for a violation.  In addition, the violator may be required to reimburse the City for any benefit, fee, compensation or profit received by any one as a result of the violation.


If you would like advice from the Ethics Commission concerning campaign activities or other issues, you may write a letter to or email the Commission or call 768-7786.



                                                                        ROBIN DAVID LIU, Chairperson

                                                                        Ethics Commission






Managing Director



[1] Section 11-102.  Conflicts of Interest --

                No elected or appointed officer or employee shall:

                                (c)                Engage in any business transaction or activity or have a financial interest, direct or indirect, which is incompatible with the proper discharge of such person's official duties or which may tend to impair the independence of judgment in the performance of such person's official duties.


[2] Section 11-104.  Fair and Equal Treatment --

                Elected or appointed officers or employees shall not use their official positions to secure or grant special consideration, treatment, advantage, privilege or exemption to themselves or any person beyond that which is available to every other person. 

Last Reviewed: Monday, September 18, 2006