Judicial Watch Wins Court Fight for Release of State Records Regarding Hawaiian Racial Separatist Campaign
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, has forced Hawaii’s Native Hawaiian Roll Commission (NHRC) and its Executive Director, Clyde W. Namuo, to release records regarding the enrollment list of “native” Hawaiians created pursuant to the “Kana’iolowalu,” the NHRC’s controversial racial registration campaign. Judicial Watch filed an Application for an Order Allowing Inspection of Public Records in February 2015 against the NHRC to obtain records regarding the campaign. The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a Hawaii-based think tank, partnered with Judicial Watch on this investigation.
The court ruled that the enrollment list was a public record and that the NHRC had come up with no good reason for withholding it from Judicial Watch. The judge ordered its release on a schedule to be approved in the next few days, and stressed that Hawaii’s open records laws were designed to foster wide and open discussion of matters of public importance.
Judicial Watch had argued that citizens were entitled to see the records, especially if their names happened to be on the lists without their knowledge:
As a member of the public, Judicial Watch has a compelling right to review the requested government records. Further, the Uniform Information Practices Act (“UIPA”) places the burden on the agency to establish justification for the nondisclosure of government records.
Although only some 40,000 Native Hawaiians are enrolled on its list, the NHRC, by its own admission, artificially boosted that number by 87,000 by transferring names from three Office of Hawaiian Affairs lists…As might be expected given this tactic, registrants were placed on the enrollment list without their knowledge or consent.
On July 20, 2012, using taxpayer funds from the State’s Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the NHRC launched the Kana’iolowalu campaign, opening a registration process for native Hawaiians who desired to vote for a new race-based sovereign government.
By the registration’s closing in January 2014, only 40,000 native Hawaiians had registered.
The NHRC then reopened registration in March and again in August of 2014. During this period, the State Office of Hawaiian Affairs transferred government lists of “Native Hawaiians” who had previously registered their “ancestry” with the state agency to the Kana’iolowalu campaign. At least 87,000 names were transferred to the NHRC’s enrollment list. Individuals who objected to being added to the race-based voter roll without their permission would be required to file a form to have their names removed. On August 8, 2014, Judicial Watch requested “the complete enrollment list of Native Hawaiians, known as the Kana’iolowalu” from the NHRC, and on September 4, Clyde Namuo, on behalf of the NHRC, refused to produce the list, claiming that the NHRC’s work “is continuing and the complete enrollment list of Native Hawaiians you requested does not exist at this time.”
“Racial classifications designed to allocate political power and government benefits are bad; attempting to unlawfully use Hawaiian citizens’ names, without their consent, to create those classifications is even worse,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The court’s decision to order the release of this list will help us uncover fraud and abuse in this deplorable, taxpayer-funded scheme to divide Hawaii by race.”
“With the release of the Roll, it will now be possible to answer concerns over the tens of thousands of names that have been placed on the list without the express permission of individuals,” said Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina. “The fact stands that the vast majority of Hawaiians have chosen not to support the efforts of OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll to create a sovereign government. Their voices can now be heard. And, hopefully, OHA will stop wasting public money on its unconstitutional push for sovereignty and, instead, spend it on housing, education, employment, and health services for those in need.”
Judicial Watch was represented in this litigation by former Hawaii Attorney General Michael Lilly of the Honolulu law firm Ning, Lilly & Jones.