Experts say lawmaker's $2,000 fine for campaign finance violatio - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Experts say lawmaker's $2,000 fine for campaign finance violations too lenient

State Rep. Angus McKelvey pleaded no contest Friday to campaign finance violations. He was fined $2,000. State Rep. Angus McKelvey pleaded no contest Friday to campaign finance violations. He was fined $2,000.
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

State Rep. Angus McKelvey, of Maui, was fined $2,000 and will issue a public apology after pleading no contest Friday to campaign finance violations.

McKelvey, chairman of the House Consumer Protection Committee, was accused of not reporting campaign contributions during last year's election. He initially reported receiving no contributions for the first six months of 2014, but later amended the report to show that he received about $33,000.

He's also accused of allowing his mother to receive and spend campaign money, which is illegal because she's not an official with the campaign. His lawyer said the violations were inadvertent.

"My client understands his responsibility and the buck stops with him and he accepted responsibility," said attorney Michael Green.

But campaign finance experts said the violations are serious and warranted stiffer punishment.

"Two thousand dollars really isn't very much money," said UH political science professor Colin Moore. "It doesn't create much of a deterrent." 

He added, "I think there should be real costs to violating these rules or for forgetting to file the appropriate paper work. All of that should be very painful."

Bob Watada, former state Campaign Spending Commission executive director, said campaign-spending laws can't be taking lightly.

"The whole purpose of the campaign spending law is to completely report contributions you get and completely disclose to the public how you're spending your money and who you're getting it from," he said.

McKelvey's plea deal comes just months after state Rep. James Tokioka, of Kauai, was fined $1,000 and issued a similar public apology for campaign reporting violations.

Deputy Attorney General Albert Cook said the state Attorney General's office will "continue to vigorously prosecute and investigate these type of crimes.

Under his plea agreement, McKelvey can have his record wiped clean if he stays out of trouble for a year.

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