Campaign Spending Commission amends spending rules

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HONOLULU (AP) - Political candidates will be changing the way they report their expenses online to make it easier to track how they’re spending their election dollars.

The state Campaign Spending Commission has instituted rules requiring candidates to file each expenditure under one of eight categories, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/1oVLt4H ).

“It’s proper reporting and it’s better transparency, and for us, obviously, it’s better compliance and better enforcement,” said commission director Izumi-Nitao. “This is a better way to capture their spending.”

Expenditures must be filed as: directly related to candidate’s campaign; charitable donations; public school or public library donations; full-time student scholarship awards; fundraiser tickets; political party contributions; expenses as an officeholder; or mixed benefit expenses.

Candidates formerly could file in 24 different categories. Some were too broad and highly subjective, Izumi-Nitao said.

Committees can still use the 24 subcategories to provide more detail, she said, after choosing one the eight categories.

The Campaign Spending Commission reviewed its policies to improve compliance after recent actions by the state Ethics Commission, Izumi-Nitao said.

The commission, over the objections of legislative leaders, voted to issue guidelines on how annual legislative allowances can be spent.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joe Souki say oversight of the allowances is the responsibility of the Legislature. However, Les Kondo, Ethics Commission executive director, said money not considered salary is public money and the commission’s responsibility.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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