2 legislators face fines over spending
At least one more lawmaker is expected to face a fine for making excessive donations using campaign funds, as a review continues on a three-year backlog of campaign spending reports, an official says.
Barbara Wong, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, said the case involves donations exceeding state spending limits.
The circumstances are similar to a case involving Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D, Moiliili-Manoa). The commission this week agreed to seek a $950 fine against Taniguchi for exceeding the $4,000 limit in a Senate race by about $3,000.
Neither case appears to be intentional, Wong said, adding that it appears in both cases the campaigns simply lost track of how much was being spent.
"They reported everything," she said.
In Taniguchi's case, "even his $10 contributions were reported," she said. "They did not keep their own running total of community donations."
Taniguchi's campaign said a computer program tracked spending but did not alert them of the excess donations, she said.
Such community donations are touted by lawmakers as a means of helping constituents and other worthy causes, while critics say it is simply buying influence.
Limits on such spending were set in 2000.
At least one other lawmaker has been fined under the rules. Former Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Kaena-Wahiawa-Pupukua) paid a $200 fine several years ago for funding a scholarship with campaign money.