Embattled congressional candidate fires accountant after more campaign reporting errors

Embattled congressional candidate fires accountant after more campaign reporting errors
Updated: Jul. 20, 2018 at 5:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congressional Candidate Kaniela Ing has fired his accountant after being forced to drastically change his most recent report to the Federal Elections Commission.

Ing was already under fire for other campaign spending violations in his state House campaigns, for which the state Campaign Spending Commission fined him $15,000.

He blamed inexperience and the demands of campaigning and full-time employment for those violations.

And on Friday he blamed his accountant for the sizable corrections he had to make in his congressional spending reports.

In a report filed Monday and widely reported in the media, it appeared Ing had found considerable financial backing for his Democratic primary campaign.

But in a filing a day later, about which the media was not informed, Ing cut his reported donations by half — and more than doubled his expenses.

In the Monday report, Ing reported he'd raised $201,865 between April and June.

But in an amended report posted a day later, he corrected the donation number to $100,983.

That first report also claimed expenses of $39,492 which was revised the next day to $100,593.

The faulty report made it look like Ing had a respectable $262,830 in cash on hand for the remaining weeks of the campaign, when he actually had a balance of $100,847.

A spokesman for the campaign said the errors were the result of mistakes by the campaign's accounting firm, which was owned by campaign deputy Treasurer Ryan Akamine.

The campaign says Akamine was fired after the error was discovered and corrected.

Ing campaign manager Yong Jung Cho issued the following statement about the issues:

"We discovered that our quarterly filing to the FEC was not the most updated version of the file when we received confirmation from the FEC of the submission. The data contractor with access to the functions in the software to make the correction operates on the east coast. The amendment was filed when the FEC opened for business on July 17th and the accounting clerk who made the error is no longer with the campaign."

The campaign also released a statement from Akamine:

"I have experience in managing FEC filings for Hawaii federal campaigns and was hired by Kaniela Ing for Congress to handle the campaign's FEC filings. I inadvertently uploaded the wrong document as part of our quarterly filing report. The campaign notified me as soon as the FEC confirmed receipt of the wrong document and I immediately made the correction. I apologize for any harm my inadvertent mistake has caused and am no longer with the campaign."

The Federal Election Commission also caught several errors and omissions in Ing's first report of his congressional campaign in May and ordered the campaign to amend that report, adding missing information about some donors and expenses.

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