Mauna Kea Donors Seek Supreme Court Protection from Attorney General

Feb 28, 2020

HONOLULU - Donors to non-profit organizations supporting Mauna Kea

protectors have filed an original proceeding in the Hawai'i Supreme
Court seeking to protect their identities from being obtained by the
Attorney General.

Last year, the Attorney General issued several subpoenas to the
Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Airlines and First Hawaiian Bank
for records related to activities supporting public demonstrations
opposed to further development of Mauna Kea.

The Attorney General's subpoena to First Hawaiian Bank sought to
obtain banking records of KAHEA, one of the non-profit organizations
that has supported those demonstrating for Mauna Kea. KAHEA sought a
circuit court order to stop the subpoena which was partially granted but
partially denied. Circuit Court Judge James Ashford ordered First
Hawaiian Bank to produce some of KAHEA's banking records. The records
that are to be produced will reveal the identity of the donors.
The donors argue enforcing the subpoena will violate their
constitutional right to privacy and freedom of association by disclosing
their identities and financial contributions to KAHEA.

The donors' attorney Bianca Isaki said, “The attorney general has
overstepped her powers by targeting those who support the Mauna Kea
demonstrators. The donors’ assertion of their rights seeks to halt this
unprecedented overreach by government into community organizing.”
The donors' other attorney Lance D. Collins said, "The Attorney
General is bound by the constitution to obtain a warrant when seeking
evidence in a criminal investigation. She can't get around the lack of
probable cause by issuing administrative subpoenas under bureaucratic

The Supreme Court will first decide whether Judge Ashford or Clare

Connors should answer the petition. A hearing date would be set after
the answers are filed.

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Lance D. Collins


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