U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele will be fined $1,000 after admitting to the state Campaign Spending Commission that he illegally used an 8-year-old list of donors to Gov. David Ige to solicit contributions to Kahele’s unsuccessful run for governor this year, the commission decided today.
Kahele — a Democrat — will have two weeks to pay the fine after he is given notice, general counsel Gary Kam told the commission. The penalty will be deposited into the state general fund.
On July 8, a month ahead of the Aug. 13 Democratic Party primary election, Ige’s staff forwarded a complaint from a 2014 Ige donor who had received a letter asking to donate to Kahele’s campaign, Kam said.
A representative from Ige’s campaign told commission investigators that the campaign did not share donor information with Kahele’s campaign, although donors and their amounts are public record.
It is against state law to use another candidate’s donor list to seek campaign contributions.
Kahele did not respond to two letters from the Campaign Spending Commission. But Kahele later called the commission staff and acknowledged that he had used Ige’s 2014 donor list and “randomly selected 100 or so” donors to write letters seeking his own campaign contributions, Kam said.
Kahele spent more than $305,000 in his Democratic primary campaign and finished in third place with 37,738 votes, or 14.5% of the votes cast.
Kahele launched his campaign in May pledging not to accept campaign donations from political action committees, super PACs, corporations and mainland donors as he had in the past, saying he had become part of the problem of influence peddling.
Instead, he pledged to accept only donations of $100 or less, hoping to qualify for an additional $208,000 in state matching funds. However, Kahele missed the June deadline to file a sworn and notarized affidavit that he would follow mandatory spending limits, making him ineligible for state campaign funds.