Congressional candidate faces more serious charges of misusing campaign funds

Congressional candidate faces more serious charges of misusing campaign funds
Published: May. 17, 2018 at 4:02 PM HST|Updated: May. 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Rep. Kaniela Ing, a Democrat running in the 1st Congressional District of Hawaii, faces new allegations of misusing funds donated to his campaigns for the state House, including using campaign money for personal expenses.

The state Campaign Spending Commission today alleged that since 2011 Ing failed to report more than $28,000 in campaign donations and more than $87,000 in campaign expenditures.

The unreported spending included more than $2,000 in campaign money he used to pay his rent, about $1,000 that went to legal fees and more than $200 used to pay his partner's credit card bills, the commission said.

"The (alleged violations) are very serious," said Kristin Izumi-Nitao, executive director of the Campaign Spending Commission, whose staffers subpoenaed bank records to make their case.

"Unfortunately, we found many of his reports were irregular."

The commission's complaint includes 31 separate counts, including errors or omissions in all 23 campaign spending report Ing has filed since 2011.

Ing called a press conference to respond to the commission's allegations, saying any errors weren't intentional.

"If I had made any bookkeeping mistakes in my past reporting and my campaigns in my early twenties from 2011 to 2016, then I'm sorry," he said.

He declined to respond to the allegations of personal use of his campaign money.

"I really would like to answer that question directly and get into these details and questions of each individual count but my counsel says that I should not," he said.

The full commission will take up the matter at its next meeting on Wednesday.

The commission's complaint is just the latest controversy surrounding the Maui lawmaker. He has been criticized for saying on campaign materials and his LinkedIn page that he received a master's degree that he never finished.

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