Sunday, August 30, 2015
Group of Kauai voters want to know AG’s intentions for criminal prosecution of Rep. Tokioka
by Larry Geller
Representative James Tokioka will be arraigned on criminal charges of violating campaign spending laws in Honolulu on Monday. A number of voters from Kauai plan to be present in the courtroom.
Since Tokioka has agreed to a “no contest” plea, it is possible that the court may immediately move into the sentencing phase at the same hearing. This will depend in part on what arrangements (deal) the AG may have made with Tokioka, who is, of course, a state legislator with some power.
If the AG will support a deferred acceptance of his guilty plea, then voters, including those who filed the original complaint with the Campaign Spending Commission, would want to know the reasons for such an agreement.
According to their attorney Lance Collins, the Kauai Voters do not believe that Tokioka meets the criteria for deferred acceptance of his planned guilty plea. Without a deferred acceptance of his guilty plea, Tokioka would be barred from holding office for four years.
Collins expects to make a statement after Tokioka's arraignment at Honolulu District Court on Monday morning.
See: Tokioka to Apologize, Pay $1,000 for Hawaii Campaign Spending Violation (Civil Beat, 8/26/2015)
The Civil Beat story omits that Tokioka delayed filing accurate campaign spending reports throughout July and until after the conclusion of the primary election. The purpose of the filing deadline is that voters should understand the candidate’s financing of his campaign before casting their vote.
Voters examining Tokioka’s filing discovered that he had failed to disclose over $26,000 in contributions and in particular, allegedly omitted entirely the outcome of a $1,000 a person fundraiser at the home of the then president of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.
The Campaign Spending Commission worked to have Tokioka correct his filings, and usually, the error would have resulted in a token $50 fine. But in this instance, the Commission determined that Tokioka's error was not a simple or honest mistake, that his actions had criminal intent, and referred the matter to the Attorney General. The AG is prosecuting Tokioka.
The arraignment will be held at Honolulu District Court, Alakea St. 8:30 am, Courtroom 7C on Monday.
Tokioka has indicated he plans not to contest the prosecution and will admit responsibility.