Complaints filed with EC against Walkingstick
TAHLEQUAH – Complaints filed with the Election Commission in April allege that principal chief candidate David Walkingstick violated campaign finance laws and promised positions within the Cherokee Nation in exchange for election support.
CN citizens Chelsea Huber and Elizabeth Stroud filed separate complaints with the Election Commission against Walkingstick, the current Dist. 3 tribal councilor. Elections Director Connie Parnell said the complaints were handed over to the attorney general’s office for investigation, and Chrissi Nimmo, deputy attorney general, said the attorney general’s office received them.
Walkingstick’s two opponents in the June 1 general election are Dist. 12 Tribal Councilor Dick Lay and former Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., whose running mate for deputy chief is Dist. 6 Tribal Councilor Bryan Warner.
An April 12 complaint filed by Huber includes allegations that Walkingstick:
• Promised to promote a Housing Authority employee and remove her supervisor;
• Offered to hide a campaign donation of a Cherokee Nation Businesses board member;
• Used his CN cell phone for campaign purposes;
• Promised someone a spot on the CNB board of directors in exchange for support;
• Omitted expenses and in-kind donations from finance reports;
• Paid for the $2,500 filing fee using campaign donations; and
• Used copyrighted images without permission in election-related materials.
In a statement, Walkingstick called Huber’s complaint “nothing more than a desperate attempt from my opposition to drag me down politically because they fear that they cannot win this election on their own merits.”
“Instead of running a clean election and focusing on the issues, my opponent has chosen to file a baseless complaint through Ms. Huber,” Walkingstick said.
Stroud filed complaints on April 23 against Walkingstick and his running mate for deputy chief, Meredith Frailey. Stroud accused the campaign of:
• Failing to file a March financial report on time;
• Filing an incomplete financial report in April; and
• Failing to disclose financial records regarding signage and other donations.
In one of the complaints, Stroud accuses the pro-Walkingstick organization called Cherokees for Change LLC, of “illegally taking actions to influence the elections for the Principal Chief and Deputy Chief” on behalf of Walkingstick and Frailey.
“While it is unknown how much Cherokees for Change has raised, I am aware of several people who have donated to Cherokees for Change,” Stroud’s complaint states. “None of the donors to CFC were listed on Walkingstick or Frailey’s March or April reports.”
Of Stroud’s complaints, Walkingstick’s campaign stated, “Less than a week after Ms. Huber’s initial complaint, a campaign employee for Cherokee Future LLC and the Hoskin Warner campaign named Elizabeth Stroud filed yet another complaint in an attempt to continue the mudslinging. This unethical tactic being used by my opposition only further highlights the need for positive change in our Cherokee Nation. When this administration gets desperate, they turn to fear and deceit as tactics to retain power.”
In response, Hoskin’s campaign stated, “We think any complaint of election interference in the Cherokee Nation is troubling. We trust the Attorney General and the Cherokee Nation Election Commission to perform their duties to appropriately investigate the matter as they would any other investigation.”