Gabbard Files FEC Complaint Against Hannemann

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

UPDATED 7/9/2012 5:45 P.M.

When does being a candidate become your primary job?

That's the underlying question Tulsi Gabbard is asking voters to contemplate. On Monday, she filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission asking for an investigation into what she says are "direct and serious" violations of campaign spending laws by rival Mufi Hannemann.

At issue is Hannemann's alleged failure to include expenses like campaign trips to neighbor islands and Guam in his disclosure reports filed with the FEC late last year and earlier this year. The trips could have been connected to Hannemann's job as CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, which also has put him in advertisements and otherwise kept him in the public eye.

"We are a country of laws, not of men, no matter how powerful. And this undeniable evidence that we're submitting to the Federal Elections Commission shows that Mufi Hannemann has consciously and knowingly conspired with powerful forces at HLTA to circumvent federal election laws," Gabbard said at Monday afternoon press conference in front of the federal building in downtown Honolulu. The complaint was filed by a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer on Gabbard's behalf.

UPDATED Hannemann spokesman Tyler Dos Santos-Tam said in an email Monday afternoon that the campaign is "confident that the FEC will find these allegations to be frivolous and false. Mufi Hannemann's work on behalf of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association is above reproach."

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