HONOLULU (AP) — The campaign committee of former Hawaii Democratic state Rep. Ty Cullen, who pleaded guilty earlier this year after taking bribes, donated to two candidates for the state House of Representatives last month.
State Campaign Spending Commission data says Friends of Ty Cullen has donated $2,000 to the campaign of Jamaica Cullen on July 26. She is running in the Democratic primary for parts of Waipahu and Hoopili, the area Ty Cullen used to represent.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Jamaica Cullen is Ty Cullen's sister-in-law and worked in his office during the past four legislative sessions.
Campaign Spending Commission data shows Friends of Ty Cullen on July 8 donated $2,000 to Rachele Lamosao, who is running in the Democratic primary to represent central Waipahu.
A report filed by Friends of Ty Cullen said he bought two fundraiser tickets for that amount.
State law says $2,000 is the most an individual may give to a House candidate in one election period.
Friends of Ty Cullen had a balance of more than $135,000 as of Dec. 31, according to commission data. Cullen did not return a voicemail message seeking comment.
Voicemail messages left for Jamaica Cullen and Lamosao were not returned.
Ty Cullen resigned from the state House of Representatives in February shortly before federal prosecutors announced charges against him and former Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English.
Court documents said they took bribes in exchange for shaping legislation that would benefit a company involved in publicly financed cesspool conversion projects.
Cullen agreed to forfeit $23,000 — the amount he received in bribes — as part of a plea agreement. He's due to be sentenced on Oct. 20.
Corey Rosenlee, who is running in the Democratic primary against Jamaica Cullen, questioned whether Ty Cullen should continue to control his remaining campaign funds.
“It should be automatic that if you admit guilt or are found guilty for bribery, that money should go back to the donors and not be set up as some sort of slush fund, which you can use for however you want to,” Rosenlee said. “And in this case, helping out a family member.”
Maurice Morita, who is running in the Democratic primary against Lamosao, said if he received money from Ty Cullen he would give it back.
“The money is tainted. Whatever you get from him, or English,” said Morita.