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State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole fined $1,500 for misusing state funds

 FILE - Hawaiʻi Senate
Catherine Cruz
FILE - Hawaiʻi Senate

State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole expressed embarrassment Friday after he said he mistakenly deposited work reimbursement funds into his personal bank account rather than his campaign account.

He was fined $1,500 by the Hawaiʻi State Ethics Commission as part of a settlement agreement. He must also return to the state about $1,200 in reimbursement funds.

The case involved plane tickets he purchased for two mainland conferences, as well as food for a town hall.

Keohokalole said he paid upfront using money from his campaign account, and filed for reimbursement as part of his legislative allowance. When he received the reimbursement, he deposited it into his personal bank account.

"The Commission is troubled by the fact that Respondent Keohokalole’s mishandling of legislative allowance funds occurred not once, but on three separate occasions," the commission wrote in its report. "The Commission views these actions as an egregious violation of trust. Respondent Keohokalole’s personal use of his allowance, even once, was improper."

Keohokalole said he fully cooperated with the commission’s investigation, and has since made changes to his accounting processes to make sure that it does not happen again.

"In light of the range of recent reports of misconduct by government officials, I felt it important to disclose these violations immediately and publicly, so that my constituents and community understand that I take these matters and their trust seriously. I am moving to resolve them in the most accountable manner possible," he said in a statement.

Keohokalole represents Kāne‘ohe, MCBH and parts of Kailua.

Read the commission's report below or click here to open a new tab.

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