If you’ve looked at the campaign disclosure reports for Friends of Elle Cochran at any time in the last eight years or so, you’d see considerable debt. In fact, the campaign committee’s deficit was $58,995.38 as of June 30, 2017.
But the committee’s latest report, which covers July 1-Dec. 31, 2017, shows the campaign is now running a $10,131.99 surplus. The reason, according to Cochran–a Maui County Councilmember and Maui Mayoral candidate–and her campaign treasurer, is that the campaign deficit was due to contributions from Cochran and her husband Wayne, which were listed as loans.
“We never intended to reimburse ourselves with campaign contributions, which is why it has appeared as a deficit on my disclosure report all of these years,” Elle Cochran said in a Feb. 1 news release.
According to campaign treasurer Sarah Freistat Pajimola, the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission has been very helpful in guiding the Cochran campaign on how to deal with the deficit.
“When I came on as Treasurer for the campaign I started looking into the deficit that had been reported since 2010,” she said in the Feb. 1 news release. “After Elle told me it was she and her husband’s contributions to the campaign using their joint account, listed as loans, it seemed impractical to report the loans as being repaid to them, by them, so I reached out to campaign spending for guidance.”
According to the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission’s Guidebook for Candidate Committees (last revised in December 2017), “Loans and the use of personal funds by candidates to their own candidate committee are exempt from any limits.”
Photo courtesy Friends of Elle Cochran