Turo Forms New PAC For Candidate Donations In Hawaii – Honolulu Civil Beat

Over the next two days, supporters Darlene and John Abt are pledging to match your new monthly donation 12 times or double your one-time gift, all up to $7,500!
We’ve raised $44,000 toward our $100,000 goal!
Donate Now
More than 770 donors have already made gifts during our summer campaign!
The peer-to-peer rideshare company recently donated to candidates like Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Speaker Scott Saiki, and Senate President Ron Kouchi.
Less than two weeks before the primary election, the peer-to-peer rideshare company Turo started donating thousands of dollars to Hawaii candidates ranging from Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters to gubernatorial front runner Lt. Gov. Josh Green. 
Both the city and the Legislature have recently been considering bills that would clarify regulations covering companies like Turo, to distinguish from traditional car rentals.
Donations began Aug. 2 and include a total of 19 recipients. Many received their maximum legal contribution, which is $2,000 for House candidates and $6,000 for gubernatorial. Senate candidates, along with Waters, also received $2,000 each.
Other notable recipients include Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, chair of the Ways and Means Committee; Rep. Henry Aquino, chair of the Transportation Committee; and Derek Kawakami, mayor of Kauai.
Turo is a platform where users can rent out their vehicles to other users, like Airbnb but for cars. Also like Airbnb, it’s become controversial in Hawaii.  
Critics say it further enables tourists to clog the streets while supporters argue it’s an innovative way for residents to earn extra income, echoing the debate that surrounds short-term lodging rentals.
Many complaints about Turo come from people whose neighbors purchase fleets of vehicles that then take up street parking, said Sen. Chris Lee, chair of his chamber’s Transportation Committee.
Last September, the Honolulu City Council passed a resolution calling for a statewide regulatory framework that would classify this industry as separate from car rental companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and allow counties some room to regulate on their own with an eye toward traffic management.
Lee said a peer-to-peer renter lacks the overhead of a full rental company. He added that it’d be like regulating a homeowner with solar panels as if the individual were a public energy utility. 
In June, the Legislature passed a bill that made this distinction, while adding insurer requirements to the industry that Turo said put it at a disadvantage compared to the rental car industry. The bill was signed by the governor.
Lee didn’t receive contributions from Turo; he’s running unopposed in the primary election.
During the pandemic, global supply chain issues held up new vehicle production and caused a domino effect on the supply of used cars. Rental car prices surged as they couldn’t keep up with demand, and Turo partially filled in the gaps, though its prices weren’t immune from the surge too. 
Turo is registered as a noncandidate committee for campaign contribution purposes. Its organizational report lists Louis Bertuca, the company’s Vice President of Governmental Relations, as the committee’s chair and treasurer. 
The company didn’t respond to questions on Friday.
Regardless of who or what you voted for, we hope we’ve distinguished ourselves from other news media through our election coverage as well as our commitment to strengthening the civic health of Hawaii.
Now, we’re asking you to consider becoming part of something larger than yourself by joining as a Civil Beat member.
Help kick-start Civil Beat’s summer fundraising campaign with a gift of $5+/month or one-time donation of $60+ and receive a limited edition “Truth Maze” beach towel.
Civil Beat has been named the best overall news site in Hawaii for the 11th year in a row by the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter.
You’re officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.
In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you’d like to receive.
Inbox overcrowded? Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe
or update your preferences at any time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *