Politics

Maui madness: Single GOP staffer to join Dems for Hawaii hearing

Democratic staff for the Senate Indian Affairs Committee scheduled a field hearing for next Wednesday in Maui, and the Republican minority will send one GOP staffer to join them.

A spokeswoman for ranking member Sen. John Barasso, the Wyoming Republican, told The Daily Caller that because the Democrats scheduled a field hearing, the Republicans are required to send someone.

“When the majority schedules a hearing, the minority staff has a responsibility to send one representative,” Barrasso spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said in an email.

Unlike the Democratic staff, which is almost entirely in Maui a full week ahead of the hearing, Lawrimore said the single Republican staffer won’t head to Hawaii until next week.

“One minority staffer will cover the hearing,” Lawrimore said. “That staff person will arrive in Hawaii on Monday evening and will represent the minority on Wednesday at the hearing.” (RELATED: Dem. Hill staffers head to Maui on taxpayers’ dime for Senate hearing)

The committee’s entire Democratic press staff have already been in Maui for at least a day, even though the hearing isn’t until the middle of next week. The press staffers have not returned The Daily Caller’s requests for comment or for more information about the trip, which is funded by taxpayers. Two regular office staffers in the committee’s Washington, D.C. office confirmed those details for TheDC.

Senate Indian Affairs Committee chair Daniel Akaka, a Democrat and a native Hawaiian, is the only senator who will attend the hearing.

The hearing will take place at the Maui Beach Hotel next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. According to the committee, it will focus on “Strengthening Self-Sufficiency: Overcoming Barriers to Economic Development in Native Communities.”

A staffer in the committee’s D.C. office said the reason for holding the hearing in Maui is “mostly because it’s his [Akaka’s] home state.” It is unclear if the field hearing will focus on any issues relating to Hawaii, or if it has been scheduled there solely because that is where Akaka is already spending the congressional recess.