Baptiste facing fines for campaign mailings

Letters encouraging Kaua’i voters to vote for Councilman Bryan Baptiste for mayor were paid for by Baptiste’s campaign, but because the letters didn’t say they were from his campaign the candidate faces fines from the state Campaign Spending Commission.

The problem was highlighted by Baptiste’s opponent Council Chairman Ron Kouchi at the end of a radio forum broadcast on KONG radio Friday.

Dr. Robert Y. Watada, executive director of the Campaign Spending Commission, said the violation of state law results in an automatic fine of $25, but could be as much as $25 for each piece that was mailed if violations continue.

Baptiste said yesterday the mailings that didn’t include the required wording that his campaign paid for the mailings were sent out by mistake by campaign volunteers.

The mailings included two letters signed by Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and husband Charles “Bull” Kusaka.

Baptiste said as soon as he found out the letters lacked the wording that would have made them legal under state campaign spending laws, he notified the Campaign Spending Commission.

“If I’m guilty, I’m guilty,” Baptiste said. “It was just an innocent mistake by a volunteer,” said Baptiste. Baptiste added that he wanted to do the right thing by alerting the commission once he found out about the problem.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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