NextEra Energy recently disclosed the list of consultants it has retained as part of its bid to take over Hawaiian Electric Industries (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “NextEra spends on firms to help it purchase HEI“).
The full list of consultants is contained in a document filed in the ongoing review of the proposed merger by the Public Utilities Commission. There are no details of the type of work performed, and the list is full of abbreviated names and corporate acronyms that make tracking relationships tedious.
The Star-Advertiser did note that one of the consultants is tied to State Senator Donovan Dela Cruz.
As of July 31, NextEra Energy has paid several local law firms, communications agencies and consulting agencies, one of which is tied to a state politician.
DTL HAWAII, a strategy studio where state Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres-Wheeler) is the vice president for communications, received $84,000 from NextEra.
This is interesting because it demonstrates more gaps in the financial disclosure requirements of the state ethics law.
Dela Cruz filed his 2015 annual financial disclosure at the end of January. It reported no changes in employment from 2014, when he had reported earning $25,000 to $50,000 as “director of communications” for WCIT Architecture.
A check of state business registration records shows that DTL is a limited liability company, with a business purpose of “culturally based strategic planning, community outreach and branding.” WCIT Architecture, and a WCIT officer, Adam Wong, are listed as managers of DTL LLC. So it appears that DTL is essentially a subsidiary or sister company of WCIT.
There is no information as to whether any of the NextEra money for “community outreach” trickled down to Dela Cruz.
Nor is there an indication of whether the senator has advocated for NextEra within the legislature, or how Dela Cruz balances his role as the director of communications for this development-oriented firm and his legislative duties.
But those issues go beyond my original point here, which is that DTL doesn’t appear in the most recent financial disclosures filed by Dela Cruz, although he does list the company on his LinkedIn profile, and his legislative profile lists his current affiliation as “vice-president for communications” for DTL.
And even if his financial disclosure did list DTL, it would not indicate whether any clients he did work for had issues pending before the legislature or potentially influenced by legislative action.
These appear to be gaps in the financial disclosure provisions of the ethics law that should be addressed.