Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole violated the State Ethics Code when he deposited a legislative reimbursement of about $1,200 into his personal bank account instead of his campaign’s account, according to a written statement from the senator.

Keohokalole signed a settlement agreement with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission Friday morning, according to a Senate press release.

Keohokalole returned the reimbursements and was ordered to pay a $1,500 penalty.

Chair of the Committee on Health Jarrett Keohokalole listens to mayors on a zoom call during meeting held at the Capitol.
Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole improperly deposited state funds into his personal bank account, according to a Senate press release. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

The charges concern reimbursements Keohokalole received for plane tickets to legislative conferences on the mainland and food for a town hall meeting in Kaneohe.

“I paid upfront for these expenses with campaign funds, and sought a reimbursement through my office’s legislative allowance. While those reimbursements were permissible under the rules, I deposited the reimbursement funds into my personal bank account instead of my campaign account by mistake,” Keohokalole said in a written statement.

Doing so violated the Fair Treatment provision of the Ethics Code. A summary of the commission’s investigation corroborates Keohokalole’s telling of the events.

“Government transparency matters. Details matter. Things like this make people feel they can’t trust their leaders,” Keohokalole said, adding that he wanted to disclose his violations of the ethics code immediately in light of “recent reports of misconduct by government officials.”

In February, former lawmakers J. Kalani English and Ty Cullen pleaded guilty to felony fraud charges stemming from a bribery scheme that took place over the course of the last several years.

Earlier this year, former Honolulu officials were charged with conspiracy for allegedly taking part in a scheme to award former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha a $250,000 payout.

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