ACLU Backs KAHEA, File Amicus Brief

March 10, 2020, 4:30 PM HST (Updated March 10, 2020, 4:30 PM)
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Kara Unoki captures snowcapped Maunakea from Pepe’ekeo.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i is stepping into the conflict between KAHEA, an environmental nonprofit, and the State Department of the Attorney General.

On Friday, March 3, 2020, the ACLU of Hawai‘i filed an amicus brief in support of KAHEA’s attempt to stop the AG’s Office from enforcing a subpoena for KAHEA’s bank records as part of an investigation into the nonprofit’s support of the Maunakea demonstrations.

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The brief argues that investigating KAHEA for their advocacy and political affiliation concerning Maunakea intrudes on the organization’s speech and associational rights, improperly retaliates against KAHEA for its position on the Thirty Meter Telescope and risks the privacy of KAHEA’s donors and supporters.

The ACLU said it does not take a position on TMT but that the Attorney General investigating a nonprofit based on “isolated acts of alleged civil disobedience” is unconstitutional.

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