HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The state Campaign Spending Commission has asked the Attorney General's office to look into potential criminal violations by former state Rep. Richard Fale, Maui lawmaker Angus McKelvey and Kauai legislator James Tokioka, Hawaii News Now has learned.
Sources said the commission found that all three collected tens of thousands in campaign contributions last year but did not report them until the reporting discrepancies were flagged by investigators.
All three have admitted making errors but said that they were unintended.
"I said we made a mistake in the transfer of deposits and checks. But that was it, there was nothing criminal. There was nothing done to hide anything," said state Rep. James Tokioka, (D) Lihue.
"It was just a mistake in our filing. Our treasurer filed a blank report when we did go ahead and make a notice we were raising funds at that time," said McKelvey, (D) West Maui.
Usually, allegations like these lead to civil fines. But because they involved incumbents, sources said the commission believed the violations are intentional and warranted a criminal referral.
According to state Campaign Spending records:
-- McKelvey, who is Consumer Protection chairman in the state house, reported zero contributions for the first six months of 2014, but his amended report said he received more than $33,000;
-- Tokioka also reported no donations for the first half, but amended his filing to say that he took in $26,000;
-- Fale initially reported receiving $40,000 in contributions during the first ten months last year but later added $23,000 when he rewrote his report.
Fale, who ran for state Senate but lost to Gil Riviere, said his mistake was also inadvertent and compounded it when he failed to respond to the commission right after the election. He said he had to go to Tonga on family business.
All three said they are cooperating with the investigations. Tokioka said he and his campaign treasurer took a polygraph test.
"I know that I went through everything with the Attorney General's office. I went through a lie detector test and passed that," said Tokioka.
We're told that the Attorney General's office has assigned one of its top white-collar crime investigators, former Honolulu Police Major Dan Hanagami, to look into the matter.
He's part of the team that's investigating Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi's personal use of his county credit card and has played a major role into the investigation into illegal political donations to former Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.
The criminal penalties for filing a false campaign report are serious. Anyone found guilty could face up to five years in jail and could be banned from seeking office for four years.