Election Commission to fine candidates who failed to submit financials

BY STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
09/15/2017 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – During its Sept. 12 meeting, the Cherokee Nation’s Election Commission unanimously voted to mail certified letters to six unsuccessful Tribal Council candidates who campaigned this past election, fining them $100 for not submitting completed financials.

Commissioners confirmed that Edward Leon Crawford Jr., Freddie Ferrell, Linda Sacks, Sarah Cowett, Sharilyn Van House and Uriah Grass would receive letters listing the fine.

The $100 fine comes after commissioners previously mailed certified letters to nine candidates on Aug. 15. Commissioners approved that letter in their August meeting and listed the candidates’ “deficiencies” in their financials, including not submitting a “final” report.

“I might just reiterate from the last meeting, we made numerous attempts to contact these people. Many of them did contact us back and follow through, and we certainly appreciate that, but there were those that did not and so they were sent the letter,” Commissioner Carolynn Allen said. “According to the (election) law, they were given a timeframe and we are past that timeframe.”

Allen said the six candidates who will receive letters following the Sept. 12 meeting took no action with the Aug. 15 letter while three former candidates submitted completed financials.

“They either received their letter and did not follow through or the two (Sacks and Cowett) did not accept the certified letter,” she said. “The others took care of theirs with the findings that we found on those.”

Allen said CN election law states those who fail to pay the fine to the EC won’t be “eligible to run as a candidate for an elective office in subsequent election” until the fine is paid.

The EC then confirmed that the unsuccessful candidates would still be bound to take care of their financial documents even after they’ve been fined.

EC attorney Harvey Chaffin said the Aug. 15 letter mailed to unsuccessful candidates states that failure to submit campaign financials would result in the commission assessing “the fine and write a notice of it.” He added that those candidates can “appeal it” in tribal court.

Chaffin said he would draft the certified letters imposing the $100 fines so that they can be mailed to the six candidates. A date was not released when the letter would be mailed.

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