HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Less than a week after fielding questions about his academic record, state Rep. Kaniela Ing is facing a new controversy over a failure to report thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Hawaii News Now looked at six years of campaign records for Ing's state House races. We found that corporate and grassroots Political Action Committees reported donating more than $18,000 that didn't show up in his campaign records.
"That's a very serious violation of the campaign spending laws," said Ian Lind, board member of political watchdog group Common Cause Hawaii. The questions will be, can those funds be accounted for?"
Ing disputed the amount of unreported contributions.
"If there have been mistakes then they've really been unintentional," Ing said.
State Campaign Spending Commission filings show that wealthy investor Jeffrey Bronfman donated $2,000 to Ing in 2016 through the grassroots PAC ActBlue. But there was no record of this contribution in Ing's filings.
Another $2,000 donation by the Operating Engineers PAC in 2012 also was not reported by Ing's campaign.
But Ing said he was not hiding donations. He said he disclosed the Operating Engineers contribution when the union endorsed him six years ago.
But HNN double-checked his records and couldn't find the donation.
He said that if there were any mistakes by his campaign in the past, it was due to inexperience.
"My first race, I was 23 years old and I was working full time at the Four Seasons," Ing said. "This is no excuse for making mistakes, but I was working as my own treasurer and it was sort of tough," Ing said.
It certainly has been a tough week for Ing. On Thursday, he was the subject of a Hawaii News Now story that reported that he didn't hold a master's degree from the University of Hawaii, even though his LinkedIn resume — and voter information websites like Ballotpedia and Vote Smart — listed him as having one.
UH Political Science Professor Colin Moore said not reporting campaign contributions is much a more serious offense than having inaccurate or outdated information on your resume.
"This will lead the public to question how trustworthy he is, or at the very least how responsible he is," Moore said.
"You have to remember he's running for the U.S. House of Representatives," Moore said. "That is really is the big leagues and you can't make mistakes like this."