Opinion Letter No. 98-01
January 16, 1998
Honolulu Ethics Commission Advisory Opinions
The Honolulu Ethics Commission ("Commission")
is not required to provide a copy of an Advisory
Opinion pursuant to a public request for an Advisory Opinion about
a specifically named individual
because disclosure would frustrate a legitimate government function.
Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-13 (3)
(1993). Under the Revised Ordinances of the City and County of Honolulu
and the Honolulu City
Charter, the Commission is required to issue Advisory Opinions.
The Commission is also required to
segregate individually identifiable information from its Advisory
Opinions, where possible, and make
those segregated opinions available to the public.
When an Advisory Opinion about a specifically named
individual has been requested, no amount of segregation can protect
the privacy interests of that person because the requester already
knows who the Advisory Opinion is about. Such a public disclosure
would chill the Commission’s ability to solicit candid information
in the future and impair the Commission’s ability to investigate
and render advisory opinions regarding claims of unethical behavior.
When the Commission receives such a request, the OIP advises making
copies of all its segregated Advisory Opinions available to the
requester, who is then free to choose which Advisory Opinions he
or she is interested in.