3 former Hawaii-based contractors indicted for allegedly making illegal campaign donations

The state Senate has sent a letter to the secretary of the Navy, saying "these legal games need to stop."
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 3:46 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three Hawaii-based former government contractor executives were indicted Thursday for allegedly making illegal campaign contributions to a U.S. senator.

The Department of Justice said Martin Kao, Clifford Chen and Lawrence “Kahele” Lum Kee made contributions to help U.S. Sen. Susan Collins win her reelection in 2020.

Officials said the three men were employed by a defense contractor prohibited from making contributions in federal elections.

DOJ launched an investigation after Kao, former CEO of Martin Defense Group, allegedly created a shell company to donate $150,000 to a political action committee created to support the Maine senator.

Kao, Chen and Lum Kee also allegedly used family members as conduits to make illegal contributions to the campaign committee, and then reimbursed themselves for those donations using funds obtained from their employer.

In 2019, Collins awarded the group’s defense firm, formerly known as Navatek, a government contract in her home state. Collins has denied knowledge of the donations.

The men are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and making government contractor contributions.

If convicted, they face up to five years in prison and at least $250,000 in fines.

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