‘I am embarrassed’: Hawaii lawmaker discloses misuse of state funds

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Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 12:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii state senator on Friday revealed that he accidentally deposited legislative reimbursements into his personal account instead of his campaign account.

State. Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, who represents Windward Oahu, said in a statement that he paid $1,264.04 for two plane tickets to legislative conferences on the mainland and food for a townhall using campaign funds and sought reimbursement.

Upon receiving the reimbursement, he said he mistakenly deposited the money into his personal bank account instead of his campaign account.

“I am embarrassed by this situation,” he said, in a statement. “These were mistakes that could have been easily avoided.”

Keohokalole was ordered to return the reimbursement and pay an additional penalty of $1,500.

He has signed a settlement agreement with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and when I was notified of an investigation, worked openly with the Ethics Commission to resolve the matter, including voluntarily providing our expense reports and bank statements,” Keohokalole said. “I have also made changes to our accounting processes both personally and in my office to ensure that this does not happen again.”

This comes in the wake of a bribery scandal involving former Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty Cullen, who both pleaded guilty to a federal charge in the investigation.

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