Welcome to Inside Honolulu! The Honolulu City Council has recessed until 2011, but there’s still work to be done. There’s also a council vacancy to be filled, with less than a week until the special election. Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

10:20 a.m. Tam’s Finance “Anomalies”

Honolulu City Councilman Rod Tam hasn’t seen the end of his legal woes.

The District 6 representative (Downtown Honolulu) already faces sentencing Jan. 27 after pleading guilty to 26 misdemeanor counts in November. But he’s facing more legal scrutiny after an internal investigation from the Campaign Spending Commission turned up inconsistencies with his finances.

Executive Director of the commission, Kristin Izumi-Nitao, told Civil Beat that the emphasis of the commission is to ensure political transparency and that it is generally not an enforcement agency. But that, “Maybe in Rod Tam’s case, you have some serious anomalies and series discrepancies that have not been able to be resolved. Well then, you have to invoke your enforcement powers.”

The commission found that Tam may have improperly used campaign funds, falsely reported expenditures and left two contributions unreported.

“There was a failure to keep receipts, there was concerns over inappropriate expenditures,” Izumi-Nitao said. Politicians are required to keep records of their finances for a period of five years so that they may be audited and have expenditures accounted for. She also said that the commission only investigated a portion of Tam’s finances.

“We looked into some specific areas, which does not preclude looking into other areas that perhaps the prosecutor’s office may want further attention at,” Izumi-Nitao told Civil Beat. “But that’s obviously in their jurisdiction to decide that.”

Lynne Waters, with the City and County of Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, said the office does not comment on pending investigations. But she did confirm that “the campaign spending commission did meet with the prosecuting attorney last week and they did hand the case over to him and he’s (Keith Kaneshiro) looking into it.”

The former mayoral candidate was recently slapped with a $2,000 fine for abusing a city privilege that allowed him to be reimbursed for meals. Tam is also being forced to pay back the $11,700 of city funds he inappropriately spent. In November, he pleaded guilty to 26 misdemeanor counts, including theft and unsworn falsification charges.