The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission slapped state Rep. Karen Awana with a $6,800 fine Wednesday after she failed to report contributions and expenditures or respond to the office’s requests for more information.

The commission, gathered for its monthly meeting, had considered criminal action but decided to handle the repeat offender administratively. Last summer, the commission fined Awana $1,900 for improperly filing her reports.

“This has been a troubling case because there seems to be a pattern in practice,” said G. William Snipes, the commission’s vice chair.

Awana, who did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday, advanced to the Nov. 6 general election after winning the Aug. 11 primary with 44 percent of the vote. She is seeking her fourth two-year term representing the 44th House District, which covers Honokai Hale, Nanakuli and Lualualei.

The commission subpoenaed Awana’s bank records after she stopped communicating with the office earlier this year. The review of those turned up numerous deposits of contributors’ checks that were not put in the bank within seven days of receipt, as required by law.

The investigation also revealed multiple instances of Awana writing checks to herself, totaling $16,000, plus two debits for $2,300. The commission asked Awana to justify the checks and debits, calling her repeatedly, but she didn’t provide the requested records or answers, said Gary Kam, the commission’s general counsel.

After being fined last summer and ordered to file a missing report and correct another one, Kam said all Awana did was pay the fine.

Commissioner Tina “Pedro” Gomes said she is concerned Awana will just ignore this round of violations as she did the last.

“We’ve seen this person throughout this time and we’re probably going to have the same thing come about,” she said.

The commission arrived at the $6,800 penalty after deciding to fine Awana $500 for eight inaccurate or false reports and $25 apiece for 72 checks deposited late. The commissioners also considered that she didn’t provide the records they’ve asked for since January.

Awana’s Aug. 31 report says she had $17,628.74 on hand as of Aug. 11.

Rep. Carroll Fined Again for Late Report

Awana was not the only candidate to face financial consequences.

The commission fined state Rep. Mele Carroll $462.50 — 25 percent of her total contributions — for filing a campaign report late.

Commission officials said they called and sent her numerous letters about the violations, but never heard back. They also noted at least 11 delinquent reports dating back to July 2008, and $3,755 in previous fines.

Carroll had $2,204.39 on hand as of Aug. 11, according to her Aug. 31 spending report.

She has represented House District 13 — which covers Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, Keanae, Wailua, Nahiku and Hana — since 2005. She ran unopposed in the primary, according to the election results.

Awana and Carroll serve as their own campaign treasurers. Snipes said the repeated campaign spending report violations makes him think the commission ought to prohibit candidates from acting as their own treasurers.

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