Hawaii’s Democratic Rep insists he is not breaking any ethics rules by working as an airline pilot as he faces mounting criticism over not attending a vote in Congress in THREE MONTHS
- Kahele has only cast five votes in person in 2022 – all over the course of three days in January – and 120 votes by proxy
- Only three members of Congress have voted by proxy more than Kahele
- Fellow Hawaiian Democrat Rep. Ed Case has yet to ask a colleague to vote for him this year and has done so only 30 times since the start of the pandemic
- Kahele’s in-person participation seems to have fallen off dramatically at the start of the new year
- When he’s not in Washington, Kahele surely leads a busy schedule – he serves in Hawaii’s Air National Guard and is a pilot for Hawaiian Air
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Kai Kahele
Hawaii Democrat Rep. Kai Kahele came under hot water on Tuesday after new reporting found he has hardly spent any time in Washington, D.C. over the past four months and has apparently moonlighted as a commercial pilot since being elected to Congress.
Kahele has only cast five votes in person in 2022 – all over the course of three days in January – and 120 votes by proxy, according to a new Civil Beat analysis.
Kahele, who ran to replace Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, promised to ‘show up’ – in contrast to the congresswoman who was preoccupied with a run for the presidency. Now, he’s mulling a run for governor.
Kahele skipped out on President Biden’s State of the Union address and was the only member of Hawaii’s delegation to miss a meeting with Honolulu officials in D.C. to talk to the Federal Transit Administration about a $10 billion rail project and missed debate on the 2023 fiscal year Defense budget.
Only three members of Congress have voted by proxy more than Kahele – Democratic Reps. Albio Sires of New Jersey, Lucille Roybal-Allard of California and Al Lawson of Florida.
Fellow Hawaiian Democrat Rep. Ed Case has yet to ask a colleague to vote for him this year and has done so only 30 times since the start of the pandemic.
Kahele has only cast five votes in person in 2022 – all over the course of three days in January – and 120 votes by proxy, according to a new Civil Beat analysis
Kahele has been working at least part time as a Hawaiian Airlines pilot while serving in Congress
Kahele is also a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard
Kahele’s in-person participation seems to have fallen off dramatically at the start of the new year – he only voted by proxy 49 times in 2021, most of those in March of last year when Hawaii suffered historic flooding.
Kahele’s office refused to provide a copy of his schedule over the past four months.
In a letter to the House Clerk’s office dated April 4, Kahele said he is voting by proxy ‘due to the ongoing public health emergency.’ But the congressman has been posting maskless photos of himself all over the Aloha State.
When he’s not in Washington, Kahele surely leads a busy schedule – he serves in Hawaii’s Air National Guard and is a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.
His Hawaiian Airlines job paid him nearly $120,00 in 2020, the year he was elected to replace Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, according to his most recent financial disclosure report.
It’s not clear how much he makes from the job currently but House Ethics Rules only allow $29,595 in annual outside income.
Kahele is pictured above on the dya he was sworn into Congress in January 2021
Kahele’s communications director Michael Ahn told Politico that Kahele flies ”occasional flights to maintain his certification.’
‘The congressman is not making $120,000. He is fully in compliance with Ethics,’ Ahn said. ‘He is an active member of the airline union, the ALPA Pilots Union, and is a certified commercial pilot and active member of Hawaiian Airlines. He does fly occasional flights to maintain his certification.’
Kahele’s office did not return a request for comment from DailyMail.com. Kahele’s office declined to Punchbowl News to produce records of the House Ethics Committee allowing Kahele to both serve in Congress and work for the airline.
Hawaiian Airlines also lobbies before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where Kahele sits.
Lobbyists say that Kahele’s office has gone AWOL on making requests for the defense appropriations bill, even though he sits on the Armed Services Committee. Two lobbyists said there have been ‘crickets’ out of Kahele’s office when it comes to setting up meetings and discussing policy goals for the National Defense Authorization Act.
Proxy voting is only allowed in the House and has been in place since March 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. A Brookings Institute study found that there were spikes in proxy voting in November 2020 when lame duck members who were retiring or lost their races chose not to make the trek to Washington and in January 2021 when members had security concerns in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Members are not required to provide a reason for proxy voting other than to attest that it is ‘due to the public health emergency.’
‘It’s time to end proxy voting in the House,’ Washington Post columnist James Hohmann wrote on Twitter. ‘This is ridiculous. Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) hasn’t voted on any bills since January. Disengaged on approps. But he’s posting pictures of himself at marijuana dispensaries and still working as an airline pilot.’