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Akaka Bill to Be Attached to 'Must-Pass' Legislation

Sources in the Senate report that Sen. Inouye is personally working to jam through the Akaka Bill this month. He would do it by attaching the bill to an omnibus spending bill that his staff is writing in secret. According to Senate sources, Inouye would wait to offer that secret bill until just before the "continuing resolution" that funds the government is set to expire. His colleagues would then be forced to either vote for the porked-up omnibus bill (with no public comment, little opportunity for debate, and certainly no chance of amendment) or reject the whole bill and deny the government the funding it needs to stay open. It's a game of chicken.

Every lame duck session features an omnibus spending bill, sometimes called "the Christmas tree," used by Senators and Representatives to give expensive gifts to their campaign contributors in the form of earmarks and riders. But attaching controversial and dangerous new policy legislation to an appropriations bill is unusual and unethical, especially when there's no floor debate on it.

It's unclear which version of the Akaka bill Sen. Inouye plans to sneak through. The so-called Lingle compromise bill S.3945 was promised for several months but never delivered to the Senate until November 15. S.3945 has never had a hearing in any committee or on the floor of either the House or Senate.

The most recent previous version H.R.2314 actually passed the House. If the Senate passes it by itself or as an attachment, President Obama will sign it. H.R.2314 is so radical and dangerous that even Governor Lingle, who had aggressively supported the Akaka bill for seven years, sent a letter to all 100 Senators asking them to oppose it.

The long delay in introducing the Lingle compromise S.3945 confirms suspicions that it is merely a decoy to lull Senators into thinking Lingle supports the Akaka bill H.R.2314 which is the version likely to be actually attached. The decoy theory is bolstered by the fact that Hawaii's powerful race-based institutions strongly preferred the radical H.R.2314 but reluctantly acquiesced in the compromise when told there were not enough votes for cloture.

The new Governor Abercrombie takes office December 6 -- the same Congressman Abercrombie who pushed H.R.2314 through the House. He dreams of becoming the "Great White Father" of the Akakakanaka Tribe. It's easy to imagine Abercrombie asking his friends in the Senate to hold their noses and let the House bill go through. "Forget about the issues raised by Lingle; she's now merely a worn-out former Governor."

This is the time of year when Inouye likes to make sneak attacks through stealth maneuvers. On December 15, 2009 an article in the Honolulu Advertiser reported on accusations by Hawaiian sovereignty activists that Sen. Inouye "is trying to avoid public scrutiny of legislation that would grant them historic new status by hiding it in a defense bill." Sen. Inouye was quoted in that article as responding "I have never suggested that the Akaka bill be passed and adopted as part of the defense appropriations process. I don't know where this nonsensical suggestion originated." The article said Akaka was as unhappy as Inouye about the accusations. "'It is very frustrating that opponents intentionally seek to spread misinformation about the bill,' Akaka said last night. 'This should call their credibility into question once again.'"

But it's the credibility of Akaka and Inouye that is really destroyed by their track record of stealth, deception, and outright lies. Despite Inouye's claim in the above quote that he never suggested passing the Akaka bill as an attachment to a defense appropriations bill, that's exactly what he tried to do on several occasions going back to 2000. Even the concept of using a decoy is not new. In 2006 a decoy new version of the Akaka bill was introduced only 9 days before a cloture motion was filed for a different previous version of the bill! For documented proof of these things, and predictions by this writer four months ago which are now coming true, see "Akaka bill maneuvers coming up from September through December 2010" at

That webpage includes much more besides proof of Sen. Inouye's abuse of appropriations bills in several lame duck sessions. It also includes
Congressional Record quotes of Senator Inouye's lies on the Senate floor when he told his colleagues that U.S. troops invaded 'Iolani Palace in January 1893, arrested the Queen, and imprisoned her there; and also another time when he told his colleagues that in 1898, when the Hawaiian flag was hauled down from the Palace at the ceremony of Annexation, the flag was publicly cut into pieces which were distributed to the annexationists as souvenirs of their final victory over the Hawaiians.

It's especially shameful when a Medal of Honor recipient behaves so dishonorably. Let's hope that his colleagues will call him to account without excusing him on grounds of age, infirmity, or ignorance.