Politics

Hawaii House Candidate Fined $15,000 for Spending Violations

Filed 23 false reports, used money for personal expenses, commission finds

Hawaii Rep. Kaniela Ing is one of seven Democrats running for the seat of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is running for governor. (Jennifer Sinco Kelleher/AP file photo)

Hawaii House candidate state Rep. Kaniela Ing has been fined $15,000 for multiple campaign finance violations after an investigation by the state Spending Commission.

Ing, a state representative, is one of seven candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Hawaii’s 1st District, which came open after Rep. Colleen Hanabusa announced her run for governor.

Ing was found to have filed 23 false campaign contribution reports and used campaign money to pay for personal expenses, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

All of Ing’s spending reports going back to 2011 were incorrect, the commission said.

He used $2,125 to pay rent and $219 to make a payment on his domestic partner’s credit card account. He deposited a $2,000 campaign check into his personal account and never reported it, according to the commission.

In all, the complaint included 31 counts, finding that Ing failed to disclose $87,559.89 in expenditures and $28,915.72 in contributions.

The staff of the commission said they could create a payment plan, since Ing said his state campaign accounts were nearly empty and paying the fines would present a hardship for his family.

Ing avoided jail time despite the fact Commissioner Gregory Shoda said there were previous cases where far fewer false reports warranted such a penalty.

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

But the rest of the commission agreed jail time could have damaging consequences for Ing’s career.

Ing apologized at his hearing.

“While my mistakes were inadvertent, I understand the seriousness of such mistakes, their ability to erode trust in government and the utmost importance of adhering to campaign finance regulations,” he said in his statement.

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