Chin sticks with cam­paign man­ager

Dy­lan Beesley has been paid $90,000 by the cam­paign of the late Mark Takai

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL & BUSINESS - By Nanea Kalani nkalani@starad­ver­tiser.com

Hawaii At­tor­ney Gen­eral Dou­glas Chin is stand­ing by the man­ager for his con­gres­sional cam­paign — a con­sul­tant who, as cam­paign trea­surer for the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, has au­tho­rized nearly $90,000 in “con­sult­ing fees” for his own firm in the year and a half since Takai’s death.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser re­ported that Takai’s re-elec­tion cam­paign, Mark Takai for Congress, is­sued more than a dozen pay­ments be­tween Au­gust 2016 and Septem­ber 2017 to­tal­ing $86,508 to Lanakila Strate­gies LLC, which is con­trolled by Dy­lan Beesley, also the cam­paign’s trea­surer.

Takai died at the age of 49 on July 20, 2016, af­ter bat­tling pan­cre­atic can­cer for less than a year.

Beesley is now the cam­paign man­ager for Chin, who is run­ning for Takai’s old U.S. House seat.

Beesley said that af­ter Takai’s death the cam­paign had a sur­plus of funds and Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion obli­ga­tions that have re­quired “some per­son­nel to con­tinue to man­age its af­fairs” be­fore the Takai fam­ily de­cides how to “dis­pose of the cam­paign’s as­sets and con­clude its ac­tiv­i­ties.”

Chin told the Star-Advertiser on Fri­day that he be­lieves cam­paign finance ac­tiv­i­ties are highly reg­u­lated by the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and that Beesley doesn’t ap­pear to have vi­o­lated any rules.

“Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion rules re­quire a lot of over­sight and ac-

count­abil­ity. … What I see from the rules is that you have to have a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer that ap­proves it, and then you also have to have an at­tor­ney that also vouches for those ex­pen­di­tures. So my sense is that the rules have been fol­lowed if that’s the case,” Chin said.

“To me,” he added, “it seems like if peo­ple are fil­ing a monthly com­pli­ance re­port that is ap­proved by a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer and then also vet­ted by one of their lawyers, then it would seem to be le­gal.”

The Fed­eral Elec­tion Cam­paign Act does al­low for cam­paign funds to be used for non­cam­paign pur­poses, in­clud­ing “wind­ing down costs of a fed­eral of­fice­holder’s of­fice for a pe­riod of six months af­ter leav­ing of­fice.”

Some of Chin’s op­po­nents in the con­gres­sional race say the sit­u­a­tion raises se­ri­ous con­cerns about the le­git­i­macy of the pay­ments Beesley au­tho­rized to his firm and about Chin’s eth­i­cal stan­dards.

State Rep. Kaniela Ing, who is run­ning against

Chin, said he views Beesley’s pay­ments as fraud­u­lent and dis­re­spect­ful to Takai’s legacy and sup­port­ers. He called on Beesley to re­turn the funds or use them to es­tab­lish a foun­da­tion in Takai’s name.

Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion rules re­quire a lot of over­sight and ac­count­abil­ity. … What I see from the rules is that you have to have a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer that ap­proves it, and then you also have to have an at­tor­ney that also vouches for those ex­pen­di­tures. So my sense is that the rules have been fol­lowed if that’s the case.”

Dou­glas Chin Hawaii at­tor­ney gen­eral, run­ning for a U.S. House seat

“If there’s no cam­paign and there’s no can­di­date, what are you con­sult­ing for? What kind of work are you do­ing for that $6,000 a month?” Ing (D, South

Maui) said.

“It just seems like, given the fact that Dy­lan was the trea­surer and he him­self ad­mit­ted that the (Takai) fam­ily has been han­dling other things and fo­cus­ing on fam­ily, he had con­trol of the ac­count and took ad­van­tage of that — at least that’s how it ap­pears,” Ing said.

State Sen. Donna Mer­cado Kim said when she fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Takai in the 2014 Demo­cratic pri­mary for the U.S. House seat, her cam­paign closed down in a timely man­ner so as not to con­tinue to in­cur ex­penses.

“I think it’s a sad sit­u­a­tion, and it clearly raises a lot of con­cerns re­gard­ing the le­git­i­macy of the ex­pen­di­tures,” Kim (D, Kal­ihi Val­ley-Moanalu­aHalawa) said.

“I find it shock­ing that as an at­tor­ney, Doug Chin does not find what Dy­lan Beesley did — pay­ing him­self huge amounts from a de­ceased per­son’s ac­count that should have been closed over a year ago — un­eth­i­cal,” she added. “This cer­tainly says some­thing about Chin’s own moral com­pass.”

Chin said it’s not his place to pass judg­ment on the pay­ments the Takai cam­paign has made to Beesley’s com­pany.

“As far as the judg­ment is con­cerned, I’m not go­ing to sec­ond-guess that,” he said. “How a cam­paign chooses to spend their money legally, that’s a busi­ness de­ci­sion.”

Chin later added in a state­ment that “any­one in­vok­ing the late Con­gress­man Takai, his fam­ily or his legacy for their own po­lit­i­cal gain is un­con­scionable.”

BRUCE ASATO / MAY 2016

Hawaii At­tor­ney Gen­eral Dou­glas Chin is stand­ing by Dy­lan Beesley, man­ager for his con­gres­sional cam­paign. Beesley was a cam­paign trea­surer for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai be­fore the lat­ter’s death in 2016 and au­tho­rized “con­sult­ing fees” for a year and a half af­ter Takai’s death.

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