Hawaii Dem Rep’s moonlighting as a pilot, proxy voting comes under ethics scrutiny

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii, has reportedly been voting by proxy since January and this caught the attention of Jake Sherman, the founder of Punchbowl News and former congressional reporter for Politico.

Sherman shared some of his findings in a lengthy Twitter thread that seemed to raise more questions than it answered, reporting that the Democratic lawmaker has been moonlighting as a commercial pilot.

Turns out, Kahele, who was elected in 2020 to replace former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, is employed by Hawaiian Airlines — outside income for members is limited to around $29,000, according to House ethics rules.

Sherman noted that Kahele’s office stated that the congressman was making less than that while working for the airline, while also pointing out Hawaiian Airlines’ minimum flight requirements that would contradict that.

And this is where the questions come into play, including whether there are any documents detailing the Ethics Committee’s approval of the arrangement and whether Kahele had voted by proxy while he was actually flying.

Kahele’s office told Politico that the lawmaker flies a “drastically reduced schedule to maintain his active status.”

“The congressman is not making $120,000. He is fully in compliance with Ethics,” spokesperson Michael 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.”

Hawaiian Airlines would only confirm to Politico that Kahele is an active employee.

Sherman further noted that the airline has business before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, on which Kahele sits.

As previously stated, there are more questions than answers at the moment but Sherman vowed to keep pursuing the story.

“Not to mention, employees of Hawaiian get perks. We asked if Kahele takes advantage of these, they didn’t answer,” he tweeted. “We are going to stay on top of this story.”

A social media user noted that Kahele is also an Air National Guard pilot and may possibly have had the option of getting airtime while in service to his nation.

Suffice it to say, the unhinged left was not pleased with the spotlight being placed on Kahele’s moonlighting, as seen here:

Here’s a quick sampling of a few other responses to the story from Twitter:

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