By Malia Zimmerman | Hawaii Reporter
HONOLULU — Former Hawaii Campaign Spending Director Robert Watada is accusing Honolulu mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell of participating in a “pay to play” scheme after reviewing dozens of donations Caldwell’s campaign accepted from government rail contractors and employees of the city’s rail authority.
“This is a clear message: ‘Make a fat donation, and you will be first in line to get government contracts.’ The idea was practiced in New Jersey politics and Chicago politics for years. Caldwell’s mainland advisers are using the same tactics: Unions to take the low road, and the candidate takes the high road and hopes to pay off his donors,” Watada said.
Ben Cayetano, Caldwell’s opponent, has a “truth squad,” which unveiled a list of 121 contractors and individuals tied to the controversial rail project that have donated to Caldwell. Some gave the maximum of $4,000, which contributed to Caldwell raising more than $1.3 million.