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Controversies mar election week

Story 2: Elections

The Elections committee received a complaint Thursday, April 11, about the Wallace/ Zhu campaign. Napoleon Linardatos, editor of the Portland Spectator, and Tom McShane filed the complaint with the Elections Committee.

The complaint outlined laws, allegedly broken by the Wallace/Zhu campaign during a campaign fundraising party, regarding selling liquor without a license(ORS 471.405) and making liquor available to a minor (ORS 471.410). The complaint states that, “These violations of Oregon State Law are in direct breach of ASPSU election code and guidelines and the ASPSU Constitution.”

The complaint continues with a request seeking a disqualification of the Wallace/ Zhu campaign from PSU student government elections (April 16, 17 and 18).

The complaint of fundraising improprieties was publicly aired in the Elections Committee meeting Monday, April 15. Linardatos and McShane presented their case, but the Elections Committee dismissed the complaint.

The Elections Committee took unprecedented action, however, by originally ordering a hearing on the allegations, followed by a private consultation with their advisers. Committee chair Santiago Mendoza met with Sally Eck, the adviser to ASPSU and Wendy Endress, interim Director for Student Development, to address the complaint.

Endress contacted the Attorney General’s Office in regards to the filed complaint. She followed this with a memo outlining five main points.

The first point says a complaint should be submitted within 24-hours of the alleged charge. Since the party took place on March 23 and the complaint was filed on April 11, the elections committee was under no constitutional obligation to hear the complaint.

The second point states that the committee must determine if the student violated a state or federal law or the PSU conduct code. If their actions are determined to be in violation of the conduct code, then the violation must be addressed in an Elections Committee special hearing.

Even if the candidate, or candidates, is found to have violated the PSU conduct code, the Elections Committee is not required to disqualify the candidate.

Any decision by the Elections Committee may be appealed to the Election and Constitutional Review Committee (E&CR). The E&CR is responsible for determining if the Elections Committee appropriately interpreted and implemented the PSU conduct code. If the E&CR determines the Elections Committee did not abide by the code, then the complaint may be returned for a second hearing.

Endress specifically addressed the allegations brought forward by Linardatos and McShane by stating ORS 471.405, 406 and 410 are the only applicable laws that would apply to the alleged violations. The dismissal of Linardatos and McShane’s allegations, however, was on several other grounds.

Mendoza maintains that the complaint was not brought forth in a timely fashion, exceeding the 24-hour time frame when they are obligated to hear the complaint. In addition, the witnesses of the alleged illegal fundraiser did not show up to testify at the meeting. The only evidence presented was a photocopy of a crumpled flier, allegedly found at the library.

According to Sam Frahm, elections committee member, the Wallace/Zhu campaign, “Responded by saying that it was a private party.”

Frahm went on to say, “We felt they didn’t provide enough evidence so we threw the complaint out.”

Linardatos and McShane wrote a letter to the Elections Committee asking them to reconsider the April 15 decision to dismiss the complaint against the Wallace/ Zhu campaign. The Wednesday meeting was canceled because a member of the Elections Committee was in class.