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Commission fines Berg $250, clears him of more serious charge

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The state Campaign Spending Commission fined Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg $250 today for two minor violations but dismissed another charge against him that could have cost him more than $28,000.

Commission members voted 3-0 to sustain charges that his campaign committee: failed to report four contributions totaling $325; and failed to disclose the purchase of a voter email list for $376.89.

The commission fined Berg $125 for each violation after the Councilman declared he is “broke.” The commission staff had recommended he be fined $250 for each of the violations.

Berg blamed the errors on former staffer and campaign supporter Eric Ryan, who brought the complaint before the commission.

The commission also voted to dismiss a third charge by Ryan alleging that Berg’s council staff worked on election activities while on city time and should have been reported as such. Ryan estimated the cost of those “in-kind” contributions at $28,646.

Berg likely would have been ordered to reimburse the city for that amount if he had been found in violation.

Last month, the commission fined Berg $250 for accepting 24 T-shirts.

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