Where there’s Gabbards, there’s drama

My e-mail inbox in recent days has been inundated with complaints about Sen. Mike Gabbard and his daughter Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, a candidate in City Council District 6, using a nonprofit organization they created to advance their politics.

The tax-exempt organization Stand Up For America was formed by the Gabbards after 9/11 to promote patriotism, but Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo’s opponents are up in arms that the SUFA website contained an announcement of her council candidacy and a link to her campaign website (since removed).

Former attorney general Michael Lilly, who chairs the campaign of Bob Vieira, one of nine other candidates competing for the seat currently held by Rod Tam, says electioneering by a nonprofit is strictly prohibited by federal tax law and he’s notified the IRS.

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, a longtime adversary of the Gabbards, has also entered the fray by filing a tax complaint.

Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, a former state legislator, dismissed it all as an “honest mistake” and blamed a volunteer.

Susan Essoyan did a thorough story in the Star-Advertiser and I don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but I continue to be amazed by the passions aroused by all things Gabbard.

The crowded council race with several credible candidates will be an interesting test of whether the name is a plus or a minus.

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12 Comments on “Where there’s Gabbards, there’s drama”

  1. CS Truthiness Says:

    A quick review of the Stand Up website and it looks like a promo for the Gabbards than advertising or promoting the goals of the non-profit.

    It also appears that it (Stand Up) did nothing for over 3 years and that would have been just as Mr. Gabbard was finishing his last campaign.

    Maybe there is always drama around the Gabbards because they are not always following the rules. You would think that since they have so many “adversaries” they would be 100% above board.

  2. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    Mahalo for the Essoyan article which I somehow missed when it was initially posted.

    Sorry that Kolea’s posts were deleted. Most of the time he has something interesting to say.

    The issues raised here are ones I deal with every single day as the head of a non-profit who is also actively involved in local politics. For example, we recently had two service projects and invited all area candidates regardless of political affiliation to take part so that they could become familiar with the issues we deal with as an organization. It was interesting to observe the responses I got.

    Right now, I am organizing an O`ahu-wide community service project on 10/10/2010 and will be inviting all O`ahu-based candidates + those running for state-wide and federal office who survive the Primary to take part in it. I had planned to imvite everyone apppearing on O`ahu Primary ballots, but I just didn’t have the time to call up that many people to get their e-mail addresses nor the money to mail everyone the information.

    Off to work – one of those busy, busy days.

  3. Mitch Kahle Says:

    Abuse of tax-exempt organizations is rampant.

    Too bad we don’t have any serious investigative reporters in this town.

  4. Kolea Says:

    The Gabbards arouse interest, and anger, for a number of reasons. The commercial press, with a few exceptions, deliberately try to avoid discussing the open secret which lies behind the Gabbards’ activities and helps put them into context.

    In the comments following Susan Essoyan’s article, someone labelled the Gabbards “Christian authoritarians.” I jumped in to erxplain how they are actually “Hare Krishna authoritarians,” but that comment got deleted by the moderator. Somehow it is OK to talk about their religious beliefs if you call them “Christian,” but beyond the Pale if you point out their longstanding ties with the Hare Krishna off-shoot cult led by Jagad Guru?

    But without being able to place them in the context of Chris Butler’s ongoing efforts to get his devotees elected, you cannot understand this family, their motivations or their considerable discipline and dedication to a social vision which has remained constant since the Independents for Godly Government effort in the mid-70s.

    The Advertiser ran a very good multi-part series on Chris Butler’s group back in 1969 or 70. I think it was by Walter Wright. At that time, Chris was called “Sai Young.” In 1970 (or so), he “submitted to Prabhupad,” and led his followers into the “orthodox” Hare Krishna group, ISKCON. A few years later, he split from the group, returned to Hawaii (mostly), set up a series of health food stores to provide employment for his followers (Down to Earth stores) and started a small newspaper, “The Valley Isle,” to promote his message of environmental sustainability and a socially conservative agenda opposing reproductive rights, the ERA and later, opposing Gay rights.

    A string of devotees from the group have run for office and, once elected, they employed other cult members, guaranteeing loyalty and confidentiality, as well as developing a cadre of politically experienced operatives for the group.

    Kathy Hoshijo, Wayne Nishiki, Rick Reed and now, the gabbards, are cult members who ran for office with varying degrees of success.

    Mainstream journalists are (generally) aware of this shadowy gr4oup, but appear to have arrived at a collective decision to suppress open discussion of it, perhaps out of a mistaken idea that a politicians’ religious beliefs are private and off-limits for discussion. Yet each of these figures has used explicit religious appeals when it is to their advantage. And suppression of the connections of the gabbards with this group cuauses readers, and voters, to just see these people as individual actors, rather than members of a team, with its own very relevant history of operating behind the scenes.

    And it leads to people mistakenly calling the Gabbards “Christian authoritarians,” when that is misleading AND reinforces the idea that “Christians” have a special monopoly on bigotry.

    I strongly recommend people conduct their own research before dismissing what I am saying. A Google search using the terms: Krishna group Hawaii “Chris Butler” will lead to a LoT of information about this network, Apparently, the mainstream media in Hawaii has decided people have will to wait to read about these people in future history books rather than in current day news accounts, when it might do some good.

  5. Mitch Kahle Says:

    Thousands of Hawaii residents are denied their civil rights and Shapiro is “… amazed by the passions aroused by all things Gabbard”?

    Tax-payers are subsiding right-wing political candidates and Shapiro is “amazed” that anyone would bother to complain?

  6. Mitch Kahle Says:

    Forgot to include that Hawaii politicans are openly electioneering in local churches, passing out campaign literature to congregations, and Shapiro is “amazed” that anyone could object?

  7. ppcc Says:

    Instead of same old, same old, vote Lavoie.

    According to his flyer that he mailed out he is against rail.

  8. Michael Says:

    When Government, Religion and Abortion issues are conversed on, there will always be Drama.

    In an article on the Maui News, aiona said He would have Vetoed the HB444 since the wording of Same Sex Marriage became Civil Union. Two Peas in a Pod is the title of that article.

    Cannot help but admire a person who has strong convictions.
    Dr. Martin Luther King was such a man, who voiced deeply from his heart, “I Have a Dream”. Civil Rights. Unfortunately for Dr. Martin Luther King, he was assasinated.
    It seems that those who objected to Dr. Martin Luther King did not like him having the Freedom of Speech.
    Civil Rights only for a few.

    One thing about being anonymous online, there is no Target! No one died from abusive comments.

  9. shaftalley Says:

    to mr.gabbard and to many americans,the american flag seems to be an object of worship.clearly.idolatry of american nationalism and very false patriotism.long live homeland security and domestic wiretapping,please.mein goodness!

  10. Tommy Says:

    Re: ppcc’s comment. I live in the district & will not vote for Lavoie because he is anti-rail. I am leaning toward voting for Gabbard-Tamayo cuz she’s pro-rail and has ‘mayo’ in her name. mayo in the mac salad that is the City Council is a good thing. :-)

  11. Mitch Kahle Says:

    http://www.nonprofitquarterly.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5371:nonprofit-newswire–hawaiian-nonprofits-mission-questionable&catid=155:daily-digest&Itemid=137

    Nonprofit Newswire | Hawaiian Nonprofit’s Mission Questionable

    Rick Cohen

    September 5, 2010; Source:

    Honolulu Star Advertiser | Beware the unnamed volunteer who surreptitiously puts campaign endorsements of the daughter of a nonprofit’s founder on the nonprofit’s website╦ťunbeknownst to everyone. And make sure you lock the door when you leave the house and turn off the burner on the range. In Hawaii, the website of a 9/11-oriented nonprofit called Stand Up for America, created by Honolulu City Council candidate Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo and her father, State Senator Mike Gabbard, was discovered to have a news release about Tamayo’s candidacy and a link to Tamayo’s campaign website. That’s not kosher. Tamayo said that she didn’t know the materials were on the Stand Up website, placed there as an “honest mistake” by a volunteer, and had them immediately taken down. But does Stand Up have a purpose other than promoting Tamayo?

    The organization exists, formally, to promote patriotism and “America’s unity as ‘one nation under God.’” But it hasn’t done anything since a 2007 lecture series it sponsored and a 2005 “Raise a Purple Finger for Freedom” campaign in solidarity with Iraq’s first national democratic elections. It took in less than the required minimum in 2009 to necessitate a full Form 990 filing. It may be virtually nonexistent, but the SUFA website contains a long, effusive paean to Tulsi Tamayo that does a great job in describing her many wonderful qualities, but seems to have little connection to any charitable purpose of the organization. Sorry, but the Tamayo explanation doesn’t ring true. The organization appears to be little more than a vehicle for whatever Gabbard and Tamayo want to say and do, which appears at the moment mostly to be concerned with Tamayo’s political future. And that’s not a convincingly 501(c)(3) purpose.

  12. Heathen07 Says:

    The Walter Wright articles about “Independents for Godly Government,” Chris Butler and his devotees and the founding of the Down to Earth stores and other cult business operations ran over several days starting in the August 21, 1977 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser.

    The January 27, 1999 Honolulu Weekly article “The Gospel According to Mike Gabbard” and the August 2004 Honolulu Magazine article “Who is Mike Gabbard?” are worth reading and are both online.


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