AG charges Tokioka

LIHUE — The state Attorney General’s office is charging Rep. James “Jimmy” Tokioka for violating campaign finance reporting requirements during the 2014 election.

Tokioka (District 15 – Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town) is being charged with “failure to file a complete and accurate report.” The charge is a misdemeanor, not a felony, meaning that prosecutors are not accusing Tokioka of willfully intending to break the law.

The charge comes after a nearly year-long investigation that included the unusual step of asking the lawmaker to take a lie detector test, which Tokioka agreed to take.

On Tuesday, Tokioka discussed the Attorney General’s decision with The Garden Island.

“I’ve cooperated with the Campaign Spending Commission and the Attorney General’s office. I know I did nothing intentionally wrong. There was an error on my … campaign spending report, which was corrected a few days after we found out.

“I’m looking forward to resolving this issue once-and-for-all,” Tokioka said.

According to the AG’s office, under terms of a plea agreement reached, Tokioka will enter a guilty or no contest plea, pay $1,000 to the Crime Victim Compensation Fund in lieu of a fine, and publish an apology on his campaign Facebook page, in exchange for the state not objecting to his motion for a deferred acceptance of his plea.

Tokioka is scheduled to appear in Honolulu District Court on Aug. 31.

In a press release sent late Tuesday evening, after the attorney general’s office was notified that The Garden Island was breaking the news, Attorney General Doug Chin said, “The Department of the Attorney General, working in conjunction with the Campaign Spending Commission, determined that Representative Tokioka recklessly filed candidate committee reports that were not complete and accurate.”

Executive Director of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Kristin Izumi-Nitao said, “I am pleased that the Department of the Attorney General is ensuring that our campaign finance laws are being enforced. The Campaign Spending Commission takes these types of violations seriously and will continue to pursue them.”

The attorney general’s office did not comment on a previous report by The Garden Island that said at least four other lawmakers plus an influential Honolulu lobbyist are also being investigated for campaign finance violations.

Tokioka previously acknowledged to TGI that he did make a mistake on his campaign finance report, and said that he wanted to make it right. He also said that both he and his campaign treasurer both voluntarily agreed to take the lie detector test, which they passed. But at least four other lawmakers refused the attorney general’s request.

“I know I’m innocent,” Tokioka previously said, explaining why he agreed to take the polygraph exam. “I just want to clear myself.”

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