As Nomi Health expands its operations in Hawaii, the company, its chief executive officer, and others associated with Utah business are allocating maximum sums or legal fees to Democratic campaigns in the politically blue state. USA TODAY discovered that you donated an amount close to the cap.
Donations to six prominent Hawaii Democrats (whose parties control the governor’s office and state legislature) in the 2022 election cycle will help five state Republican governors win no COVID bids in favor of fleas The deal comes after Nomi and its CEO made significant contributions to the Republican campaign. -19 test.
Nomi, CEO Mark Newman, and others associated with the company have donated about $35,000 to Hawaii Democrats since December, the majority of which is donated to Democratic candidates. and is being sent to Lieutenant Governor Josh Greene, the frontrunner for governor.
The amount is just a fraction of over $1 million, including donations from Nomi’s subcontractor Domo, given to the Republican campaign after receiving test contracts in Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee and Utah. .
Compared to states with no or high campaign contribution caps, Hawaii Donation limits are relatively low, with a maximum of $6,000 that an individual or group can contribute to a gubernatorial candidate like Greene.
Newman donated the top dollar to the candidate, who is also a doctor, while Newman’s wife Amber and the company itself donated $5,000 each to the lieutenant governor.
Nomi registered as a “non-candidate committee,” similar to a political action committee, to make corporate campaign contributions in Hawaii.
On August 26, the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission fined Nomi $500 for failing to report the company’s political contributions to Green, according to Tony Baldomero, the commission’s associate director.
Baldomero said it’s fairly common for corporate non-candidacy committees not to report political contributions. He added that, based on anonymous information, the commission began investigating Nomi about a month ago to see if the company had a contract with the Hawaiian government that barred campaign contributions. I was.
“I know they have 11 locations, but I couldn’t find a[government]contract,” he said. “So there’s nothing there.”
Newman confirmed that his company does not currently have any government contracts in Hawaii and serves in independent retail sites and paying cities. County fees for leasing space.
Nomi spokeswoman Maggie Habib said the company “supports local community organizations throughout Hawaii and supports local leaders such as Dr. Green. I have great respect for Dr. Green for his approach to lifting whole communities through care and more.” She also added that Newman’s family lives part-time in Hawaii, and fines for campaign donations are common given the way Hawaii’s regulations are set up.
USA TODAY Research Based on Over 30,000 Documents and Dozens of Interviews Finds Business Relationships, Funding and Networks of Connected Political Leaders Benefit Nomi Health, Its Subcontractors and Suppliers During Pandemic I found that it was tilted in the right direction. Republican leaders in those states gave Nomi contracts for tens of thousands of his COVID-19 tests and his PPE, despite the company’s inexperience.
In March 2020, when the pandemic began, Nomi partnered with three other Utah-based companies to begin offering COVID-19 tests in Utah and four other states. – Bid deals.
In December 2020, Brigham Young University-Hawaii selected Nomi to provide weekly COVID-19 tests, and the company donated behavioral health services to nurses and first responders. Flea offered free cholesterol and blood pressure screenings at health fairs this spring as it increased its presence in Hawaii.
“To this day, we are still testing Hawaiian as a service, free of charge, and we appreciate the community,” Newman said. He added that fleas also offer health fairs. rice field.
Nearly all of Hawaii’s campaign contributions to politicians, including several who ran for legislature and lieutenant governor, came after Nomi announced in December that it had secured $110 million in new investor funding. was broken. The company has since acquired at least three more companies, including Artemis Health, which he gave Green about $5,600 about six months after the acquisition.
Nomi also donated $3,000 to Sylvia Luke, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor and chairman of the House Finance Committee. The company also made her $1,000 donation to each of her four members of Congress seeking re-election, including the chairman of the State and Senate Health Committees.
Newman previously told USA TODAY that donations to the campaign were made so that Nomi could continue to “stand at the table” and compete with other companies for future health contracts.
Larry Noble, a former federal elections commission counsel who has practiced campaign finance law for 45 years, told USA TODAY that Newman appears to want to sit at more tables.
“Money can buy access,” Noble said. “It’s a big problem and it leads to a distorted government. It’s part of the system we have now. The fact that he’s happy to say it out loud shows how depressed we are.” is showing.”
Brendan Glavin, a senior data analyst at Washington, D.C.-based campaign finance site Open Secrets, said political ideology was not a driving factor for Newman or Flea after making large donations to the Republican Party in Hawaii. I said it shows no.
“If their intention is to expand their business in Hawaii and they believe Greene will be the next governor, they will direct their contributions there,” Glavin said.
Glavin added that while Hawaii’s governor’s contribution limit is relatively small at $6,000 per person, pooling these contributions makes a noticeable difference to candidates.
And if that candidate becomes governor, that’s an important connection.
“Governors have a lot of leverage when talking at the state level,” Glavin said. “Decisions are made about how the money is spent within the budget.”
Neumann previously told USA TODAY that Nomi isn’t the only company providing financial support to public servants, noting that other companies provide campaign funds to politicians. Company officials also noted Nomi’s contributions to the Democratic Party.
However, according to records compiled by Follow The Money, an Open Secrets affiliate, the company did more to GOP candidates in the 2022 election cycle by a margin of more than 18 to 1.
According to the site, Noumi contributed $288,705 to 34 candidates and three election commissions in Florida, Hawaii, Nebraska, Texas and Utah, with the largest $150,000 going to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. rice field.
The Florida Governor’s Office paid fleas at least $46.5 million for COVID-19 testing and vaccine work from February 4 to June 17, 2021, records show.
On July 20, 2022, Neumann was among several who hosted a fundraiser in Utah for 2024 GOP presidential candidate DeSantis.
In Hawaii, contributions to the campaign from Flea, Newman and company officials are being scrutinized.
U.S. Congressman Kai Kahele, who lost to Green in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, released a 47-minute video in late July questioning why Nomi and Newman invested in a party so far from Utah. .
Kahele told USA TODAY that Neumann will ally with the governor and lieutenant governor if the Democrats win in November.
He notes that the donations from Newman and Flea’s associates are much smaller in Hawaii than given in politically deficit states, but the dollars add up and open the door to political access to state contracts. said to open.
“It just smells fishy,” Kahele said, “something is wrong.”
According to Green’s campaign, he received more than 4,000 donations, including donations from health care providers and businesses.
“Dr. Green has met with the Nomi team since the pandemic began. To our knowledge, Nomi has no existing state contracts,” the campaign said in a statement.
Green, who won the Democratic primary in August, will run against Republican candidate Duke Iona in November to replace Democratic Gov. David Ige, who is barred from re-election due to term limits.
“Nomi Health is donating to the next generation of leaders like Dr. Green, who we believe are embracing the new thinking and bold actions needed to better serve Americans when it comes to health care. Because we believe,” Newman said. “We engage with leaders on both sides of the aisle who share our mission to make health care more affordable and accessible.”
Iona told USA TODAY that Democrats have a hard time beating Green because they have 71 of the 76 seats.
Still, he said Nomi’s campaign contributions could be an issue for Green to explain to voters.
“We know companies like that don’t enter jurisdictions they’ve never been in unless they’re pay-to-play,” Iona said. “That’s an absolute red flag. .”
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