Joint Elections Committee officials said they abandoned their initial decision that a party held at Bob Simon’s fraternity house cleared campaign rules after speaking to GW officials Monday.
After dismissing initial complaints about the Feb. 23 party at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house, the committee will decide Friday whether the event broke campaign rules, JEC officials said. Simon, a candidate for Student Association president, is the 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 officials from the Community Living and Learning Center.
“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 attended a “Rock the Vote” party at the G Street fraternity house that ended with 10 student arrests when Metropolitan Police officers raided the house for under-aged drinkers.
Hiscock said it was unclear to the JEC whether the party qualified as a campaign event. Hiscock said Monday that the party could be tried under the bribery clause.
“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.”
According to the bribery clause: “A candidate may distribute food or non-alcoholic beverage inside a private residence or a residence hall room – but not in a common area of a residence hall or other building – without penalty.”
The charter does not include a policy on alcohol.
Program Board executive vice chair candidate Bernard Pollack, SA senatorial candidates and SA presidential candidate Dan Loren attended the party.
“I was at the party but only four or five minutes before the cops showed up,” Loren said. “I didn’t do any campaigning.”
Senatorial candidate Christian Berle filed a complaint against opponents Raj Parekh and Matt Hargarten that Hiscock dismissed partly because he said it was unfair to punish some of the candidates who attended the party and not others.
The Friday hearing will examine if the Delta Tau Delta party fit the JEC’s definition of a campaign event. Candidates could receive violations that could affect their eligibility to hold office.
“I don’t think that I should be found in violation,” Loren said. “I didn’t think it was an official event.”
The JEC is asking candidates to step forward to admit their involvement with the party.
“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.