WASHINGTON — The Office of Congressional Ethics, the independent watchdog charged with investigating allegations of misconduct against House members and their staff, has called for an official inquiry into U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele.

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday in a press release that it has received the request from the OCE on Aug. 22, but it did not disclose the alleged ethical violations that the Hawaii congressman might be facing.

According to the press release, more information will be released in November when the committee, which is chaired by U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, announces its “course of action.”

Democratic candidate for governor Kai Kahele's Job Interview segment
Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele faces a possible ethics probe by the House Ethics Committee. HNN/2022

Kahele came under scrutiny earlier in the year after Civil Beat published an investigation into his proxy voting record that found that he had asked colleagues to vote on his behalf more than almost any other member of Congress at the same time he was laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial campaign in Hawaii.

The story led to more questions about Kahele’s part-time job as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines and work he was doing on the House Transportation and Armed Services Committees where he was overseeing legislation that involved lobbying by both his employer and his union, the Air Line Pilots Association.

On April 19, a conservative watchdog group known as the Foundation for Accountability and Civil Trust filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics based on the news coverage.

The OCE didn’t say if that complaint led to its request for the House Ethics Committee to officially investigate Kahele.

Also unclear is whether Kahele will face any repercussions even if the committee decides to act since he will most likely no longer be a member of Congress by the time a final decision is made.

Kahele is retiring at the end of his term in January after losing his gubernatorial bid in the Democratic primary.

His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the full press release here:

We appreciate gifts of any amount

Civil Beat is a nonprofit, reader-supported newsroom based in Hawaii. When you give, your donation is combined with gifts from thousands of your fellow readers, and together you help power the strongest team of investigative journalists in the state.

Every little bit helps. Will you join us?

About the Author