September 18—U.S. Representative Kai Kahele and business entrepreneur Vicky Cayetano face separate investigations by the State Campaign Expenditures Commission into their failed campaigns to become Hawaii’s next governor.
U.S. Representative Kai Kahele and business entrepreneur Vicky Cayetano are facing separate investigations by the State Campaign Expenditures Commission regarding their failed campaigns to become Hawaii’s next governor.
The commission is due to review an allegation Thursday that Kahele, a Democrat, solicited campaign donations from contributors who had previously donated to Gov. David Ige, a violation of state law.
It is difficult to tie campaign solicitations to donors who have given to other campaigns. But the first-term congressman reportedly cited Ige’s 2014 campaign donations when asking for donations for his own campaign.
When it meets this week, the Campaign Expenditures Committee may consider a range of options, including “to summarily dismiss the complaint, investigate further, determine on a preliminary basis whether there is probable cause to believe that a violation of the law has been committed, or refer the complaint to an appropriate prosecutor for prosecution”, according to the agenda of the meeting.
Kahele did not immediately respond to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser request for comment on the allegation on Saturday.
Kahele spent more than $305,000 on her Democratic primary campaign and finished in third place with 37,738 votes, or 14.5% of the votes cast.
Fellow Democrat Caye Tano garnered 52,447 votes, or 20.1% of the primary votes, putting her in second place behind Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who won 158,161 votes, an overwhelming majority of 60.6 %.
Kahele launched his campaign in May by pledging not to accept campaign donations from political action committees, super PACs, corporations and mainland donors as he had done in the past, saying that it was now part of the influence peddling problem.
Instead, he pledged to only accept donations of $100 or less, hoping to qualify for an additional $208,000 in state matching funds. However, Kahele filed a sworn and notarized statement that he would meet mandatory spending limits, making him ineligible for state campaign funds.
The Campaign Spending Commission is continuing to investigate an allegation against Cayetano — filed May 31 ahead of the Aug. 13 primary election — that she coordinated spending with Super PAC Victory Calls 2022, which would violate state law. ‘State.
During the primary election campaign, Victory Calls 2022 ran advertisements critical of Green.
The complaint is listed on the agenda for last month’s meeting under the heading “Dossier No. 22-16—Christian West v. [Vicky ] Cayetano.”
West, the plaintiff, failed to produce documents requested by commission staff to support his accusation. He was told that his complaint would be dismissed if he did not produce the documents.
Cayetano did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
She spent more than $3.2 million on her gubernatorial campaign, including $2.35 million she lent herself.
Separately, Republican Eric Ryan — a frequent critic of the Hawaii Republic Party and several of its candidates — filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against Republican candidate for Lt. Governor Seaula. “Junior” Tupai, a Hilo-based pastor, alleging he filed “fraudulent” financial statements for the candidate and his sister, Helen Tupai.
In his voluminous complaint, Ryan offers no specific evidence but instead questions the source of Tupai’s income.
Ryan signed his complaint as co-chairman of a group called Citizens Against Crooked Politicians.