After dismissing initial complaints about a beer party held at Student Association presidential candidate Bob Simon’s fraternity house, the Joint Elections Committee will decide Friday whether a campaign party at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house broke campaign rules, JEC officials said Tuesday. Simon is president of Delta Tau Delta.
JEC Chairman Josh Hiscock said he thought the JEC had no jurisdiction to reprimand candidates at Saturday night’s party, but changed his mind after talking to University officials.
“The JEC’s original reaction was that the event was a non-issue,” Hiscock said. “We thought it was beyond our boundaries to deal with.”
Candidates for SA and Program Board positions attended a “Rock the Vote” party at the G Street fraternity house that ended in ten student arrests when Metropolitan Police officers raided the house for under-aged drinking.
Hiscock said that the JEC believed they had no authority to act on complaints of campaign violations because it was unclear if the party was a campaign event. Hiscock said a complaint was filed Sunday against several candidates who attended the party, but was thrown out.
The complaint Christian Berle filed against senatorial candidates Raj Parekh and Matt Hargarten was dismissed by the JEC partly because the JEC felt it was unfair to punish some of the candidates who attended the party and not others, Hiscock said.
“On Sunday it was unclear as to what role the JEC was playing,” Hiscock said. “It was unclear as to whether the JEC’s charter covered the event. Following discussions with the University we now find that there is probable cause to hold a hearing.”
Hiscock said in an interview Sunday that the JEC believed they had no authority to act on complaints of campaign violations because it was unclear if the party was a campaign event.
“The JEC has nothing to do with the alcohol violations as there is nothing in the charter on it,” Hiscock said Sunday.
The Friday hearing will examine if the Delta Tau Delta party fit the JEC’s definition of a campaign event, and candidates could receive violations even after the election that would affect their eligibility to hold office.
“All the candidates were sent an e-mail asking if they attended the party,” Hiscock said. “It was in the candidate’s best interests to come forward and admit that they were at the party.”
“The candidates should have responded to the e-mail,” said Alicia Piontkowski, counsel for the JEC. “If they didn’t respond they would be found in contempt of the committee, which is a serious offense.”
Hiscock said more than a dozen candidates have responded to the e-mail admitting that they attended the party.