Chin sticks with campaign manager
Dylan Beesley has been paid $90,000 by the campaign of the late Mark Takai
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
“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.”
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.