Dylan Beesley was Takai’s campaign manager and said that after Takai died of pancreatic cancer he became campaign treasurer at the request of the family, according to Hawaii News Now.
Beesley is now campaign manager for Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin, who is running for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat. That seat is open, as Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is leaving office to run for governor.
Takai died with about $1 million still in his campaign fund, and half of that was returned to donors. His family planned to give the rest to charity.
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But campaign finance reports showed that Beesley was paid $5,759 a month through the last reporting period, which went until the end of September.
Takai’s campaign fund also paid money to Beesley’s company, Lanakila Strategies. Together, the payments amounted to around $90,000. The campaign fund has roughly $328,000 left as of the end of September.
Beesley defended the arrangement in a statement.
“I became treasurer at the request of the late Congressman Takai’s family, and I have done my job with their support. Any claim to the contrary is false, and anyone invoking Mark’s name or his legacy for their own political gain is unconscionable,” he said.
California Rep. Mark Takano, a friend of Takai’s, said he was surprised when he learned of the arrangement.
“Wow, I think people should, would question those practices,” he said. “And I don’t know that Mark would want to see that happening with the money he raised for re-election.”