State Rep. Romy Cachola has agreed to pay almost $2,500 in fines and personally reimburse his campaign account over $32,000 following an eight-month investigation by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.
The commission on Thursday unanimously approved a seven-page conciliation agreement negotiated with Cachola’s attorney, Michael Green.
“I think both sides probably left some money on the table,” Green said, adding that he appreciated the commission’s professionalism in working out a fair settlement.
The commission had charged Cachola with failing to reimburse his campaign account for the personal use of a Nissan Pathfinder he bought with campaign funds in 2008 and improper expenditures he classified as “public relations” and “food and beverages.”
Cachola’s campaign spending reports show he made 40 expenditures to people totaling $2,774 for “public relations” between January 2011 and December 2013, including $50 to Rep. Rida Cabanilla on Jan. 29, 2012.
The reports show he spent $9,194 on “food and beverages” during the same period at places ranging from Zippy’s and Little Village to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Honolulu Country Club.
Cachola has already reimbursed his campaign account $28,244 of the $32,116 he owes under the agreement, which is 50 percent of all the expenditures at issue in the complaint.
The $2,496 administrative fine breaks down into $1,000 for failing to keep records, plus 25 percent of all the improper expenditures, or $1,496.
Cachola did not attend Thursday’s hearing, or the previous meeting on the matter in June. Green represented him in both instances.
While approved by the commission, the conciliation agreement does not take effect until signed by Cachola and the commission’s executive director, Kristin Izumi-Nitao. That is expected to happen soon.
Cachola was a Honolulu City Council member from 2000 until he returned to the House in 2012. He is unopposed in his bid for re-election this fall.