Hawaii commission fines state representative more than $15K

HONOLULU — A Hawaii commission has fined a state representative more than $15,000 after finding more than two dozen violations of campaign spending laws.

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission issued fines Wednesday for Democratic Rep. Kaniela Ing for violations that include filing 23 false reports on his campaign contributions and expenditures and using campaign funds for personal expenses, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

Ing’s reports filed between 2011 and 2016 were all incorrect, commission staff said. Ing failed to disclose nearly $88,000 in expenditures, or about 62 percent of the total amount of spending reflected in Ing’s bank statements. He also failed to disclose nearly $29,000 in contributions.

“The level or the number of violations is astounding basically,” Commissioner Gregory Shoda said. “Every single report is incorrect.”

Ing used campaign funds to cover $2,125 in rent payments for residences on Oahu and Maui, and he used $219 to make a credit card payment, according the commission.

He also deposited a $2,000 campaign check into his personal checking account. Those funds were never reported and exceeded limits on campaign contributions. The commission ordered him to return the money.

The 29-year-old state legislator, who is running for the U.S. House, apologized during the commission hearing, saying the mistakes were not intentional. He attributed the errors, in part, to his youth.

Ing’s case avoided criminal prosecution, but Shoda noted they have sought prosecution in other cases that had fewer violations.

“In the past, we have had other cases where people have made maybe two incorrect reports and commissioners found flagrant violations of the law,” Shoda said. “In this case, we have umpteen reports — none of which were correct.”

The commission gave Ing 120 days to correct the inaccuracies in the reports.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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