UT Supreme Court, Election Supervisory Board address complaints against executive alliance campaigns

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Executive alliance candidates Binna Kim, left, and Kevin Helgren, middle, listen to Tanner Long, right, address the Election Supervisory Board Tuesday evening.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

UT Supreme Court and Election Supervisory Board (ESB) addressed complaints against two executive alliance campaigns Tuesday night.

UT Supreme Court, the appellate court for ESB during spring elections, held a hearing after complainant Kiefer Odell appealed the ESB decision to dismiss his complaint against the Dimitroff-Guadiana campaign Monday. The court determined the Dimitroff-Guadiana campaign violated the election code and issued it a Class B violation — a 24-hour moratorium — in an appeal hearing Tuesday night.

The campaign breached regulations by providing misleading responses on a University Democrats questionnaire the organization uses to determine which SG candidates to endorse, according to the UT Supreme Court. 

As part of the verdict, the Dimitroff-Guadiana campaign may not campaign in public spaces, make public campaign appearances, hold campaign events, distribute campaign materials, create new social media posts regarding the campaign or encourage students to vote unless the posts and encouragement are objectively neutral. The moratorium will be in effect from 7 a.m. on March 2 to 7 a.m. on March 3.

Co-complainant Taral Patel said he thinks the comments of Dimitroff’s team member support Odell’s case.

“Dimitroff’s team member during the hearing tonight said he filled out the questionnaire because ‘[he] wanted it to sound good for the campaign,’” Patel said. “This confirms the campaign knowingly wrote that Kallen and Jesse have voted in Democratic primaries throughout their lives even though the candidates were well aware that was not the case.”

According to the verdict, UT Supreme Court reasoned the campaign demonstrated negligence and accuracy was not its driving motivation in completing the questionnaire.

Dimitroff said the misleading information was human error and said she and her campaign team did not knowingly deceive University Democrats.

“This is the purest form of corruption SG has ever seen,” Dimitroff said. “We did nothing wrong. We will work until the last minute to make sure students are fought for.”

ESB also addressed a complaint against another campaign Tuesday night.

Tanner Long, government senior and Student Government Speaker of the Assembly, said he filed a complaint against the Helgren-Kim campaign because it did not report a Class A violation charge — a result of a previous complaint — on their financial disclosure form.

“The Election Supervisory Board levied a fine on the Helgren-Kim campaign of $59.50,” Long said. “The Election Code clearly states that all fines and expenditures must be reported on financial disclosures.”

Executive alliance candidate Kevin Helgren said his campaign did not submit the Class A violation fine on their financial disclosure form but said his campaign subtracted the fine from the total amount and did not exceed that budget.

“Executive alliances are allowed to spend $1,023 dollars,” Helgren said. “[A value of] $1,023 minus $59.50 means we have $963.50 to spend on our campaign. On our first financial disclosure, we spent $950. After our second financial disclosure, we had $1.09 left to spend.” 

Helgren said the election code gives candidates 48 hours after election results are finalized to pay all incurred fines.

“Because we have not used the $59.50 and will not use that $59.50, we have not violated the election code,” Helgren said. “If ESB rules against us, we will file an appeal immediately.”

ESB will have 24 hours to release a decision.