Hawaii Democrats Linked to Rhode Island Political Scandal?

Matt Brown
Matt Brown
Sam Aiona
Sam Aiona

(KHNL) - Hawaii's Republican party issued a complaint Wednesday claiming their Democratic counterparts illegally laundered campaign money for a candidate in Rhode Island.

The complaint centers around Matt Brown, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island. The state GOP says Hawaii Democrats cut a deal with one of Brown's supporters to circumvent federal campaign spending law. The complaint says Brown's campaign struck similar deals with Democrats in other states.

"The Hawaii Democrat Party, the Maine Democrat Party and the Massachusetts Democrat Party could be in potential violation of federal campaign spending laws," said Sam Aiona, Hawaii state GOP chairman.

Republicans said the Democratic Party of Hawaii gave $5,000 to Brown's campaign. The complaint said, in return, a Brown supporter donated $6,000 to the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

"If this is a violation of the trust of the people, then we think it's serious," Aiona said.

"And that's why we're filing this complaint, because we don't think this type of actions should occur in politics. There's no place in politics for it."

Brown said his campaign did not violate federal law, but he did return the contribution from Hawaii.

"This is all completely legal," Brown said. "Obviously as I've said, there's an appearance problem."

Hawaii Democratic Chairman Brickwood Galuteria said there was nothing improper about the donations and he welcomes an investigation.

Hawaii Republicans say GOP leaders in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have not yet decided whether they will also sign off on the complaint before it is filed with the Federal Elections Commission.