« How California pols used their campaign money | Main | George Will does not like McCain-Feingold »

How an Hawaiian pol spends his campaign money

State Sen. Cal Kawamoto spent thousands of dollars in campaign money on car repairs, auto insurance premiums, traffic tickets and gasoline, according to a Star-Bulletin analysis.

Between 1996 and 2003, Kawamoto (D, Waipahu) spent more than $21,000 in campaign funds to fix, insure and gas up a Dodge 1992 van he personally owned. The Kawamoto campaign also spent $22,500 in January 2003 to buy a Subaru truck to replace his van.

The questionable expenditures represent about 14 percent of Kawamoto's $312,000 campaign war chest. They are also a focus of a state Campaign Spending Commission investigation into Kawamoto's possible personal uses of campaign funds.

"This reeks of the appearance of corruption, if not actual corruption," said Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert at Public Citizen, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group. "This officeholder is using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses." -- Senator diverts election funds (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

Read the rest of the story to get Sen. Kawamoto's side of the story.