UI SURGE Party found responsible for falsification of campaign finance records, not responsible for alleged intimidation

Members+of+UIs+SURGE+Party+speak+in+an+interview+with+The+Daily+Iowan+in+Adler+Journalism+Building+on+Wednesday%2C+March+21%2C+2018.+%28Lily+Smith%2FThe+Daily+Iowan%29

Lily Smith

Members of UI’s SURGE Party speak in an interview with The Daily Iowan in Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, March 21, 2018. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Hours before the University of Iowa Student Government Election results were announced, the verdicts regarding appeals made by the UI SURGE Party to the Student Judicial Court have been released.

RELATED: Verdict reached but not disclosed on potential UISG election-code violation

Chief Justice of the Student Judicial Court Adelaide Zwick sent a statement to The Daily Iowan that said the Student Judicial Court heard appeals for two complaints lodged against SURGE, one regarding the alleged falsification of campaign-finance records and one regarding alleged intimidation of Envision Iowa ticket members.

“In the matter of alleged falsification of campaign-finance records, [Student Judicial Court] has found SURGE Party ‘Responsible.’ In the matter of alleged intimidation of Envision ticket members, [Student Judicial Court] has found SURGE ‘Not Responsible.’ Sanctions will be determined by the [Student Elections Commissioner],” the statement read.

UI senior Andie Dutton, a UI SURGE Party adherent, was the focus of the intimidation claim after she tweeted past social-media posts by former Envision Iowa presidential candidate Kyle Apple.

Dutton said she initially got involved with the campaign as a friend of presidential candidate Hira Mustafa and had not known that her tweet might cause difficulty for the campaign.

“I’m a senior, I’m graduating in a few months, I’ve never been in UISG, I didn’t know much about UISG until this experience, so I didn’t even think to kind of say, ‘Hey, since I’m on your website, can I post this’?” she said. “I just posted it without their knowledge and didn’t think I had to adhere to an election code; I didn’t know what an election code was, anything like that.”

RELATED: Apologies, investigation follow UISG presidential candidate’s tweet

Dutton said the following trial process was confusing and disappointing in her experience.

“What was confusing with these trials were they were against me and SURGE, but I was never sent a notice of violation for the original hearing, I just kind of went anyway to give my side,” she said. “I didn’t receive the notice of what the original verdict was, that the election commissioner came up with until 3:58 Tuesday night, when the new hearing was at 4:30, so that didn’t give me a whole lot of time to prepare.”

Dutton said the definition of “adherent” was too broad and that UISG should make it clear both who adherents are and that they are bound to the election code.

“It’s not clearly communicated, had I known that what one person’s definition of an adherent considers me an adherent, I would not have posted it,” Dutton said. “I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, and I wasn’t trying to stir up anything for SURGE or have people question their integrity or my integrity.”

Zwick told the DI March 29 the verdicts would be announced at 11 a.m. March 30. The verdicts were released as hard copies that the tickets had to pick up in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership offices.

As of 3:40 p.m., the tickets had picked up the verdicts. Zwick wanted to ensure the tickets “had a chance to see the verdicts” before the verdicts were made public.

When the DI reached out to Student Election Commissioner Johanna Hetherington, she said she was unable to comment at this time.

The DI also reached out to both Envision Iowa and UI SURGE Party. The tickets did not comment at that time.

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