The Undergraduate Student Government presidential campaign of Mary Honaker and Carla Gracia violated campaign-finance bylaws by overspending and misleading the public on its campaign finances, according to a Judicial Panel brief filed Thursday afternoon by another USG campaign. At least four campaign operatives have resigned following the allegations.
Michael Frank, a third-year in economics and political science, told The Lantern he is resigning from his position as a campaign manager. Citing his resignation, he declined to comment.
The alleged overspending comes after a Lantern article detailed connections between the Honaker and Gracia campaign and conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, which is funding student government campaigns across the country, according to leaked audio and documents obtained by The Lantern. USG presidential candidate Stephen Post, a third-year in economics and political science whose campaign filed the brief, told The Lantern the documents which his campaign is basing its challenge on do not point to TPUSA, although they do show violations of the $4,000 cap that campaigns are allowed to spend.
“This evidence came in the form of a screenshot of a t-shirt order invoice, in which the campaign allegedly was planning to spend $4,025.54 on shirts,” a statement from the Post campaign reads. “This person also provided us with an additional screenshot for another order, in which the campaign allegedly was planning to spend $3,588.94 on shirts. Per their most recent (campaign finance form), the campaign claims to have only spent $871.08 on shirts that were ‘ordered through one of Mary Honaker’s family friends.’”
The brief has not been made public yet by USG’s Judiciary Panel, and The Lantern has not yet received or reviewed the evidence on which it is based. The statement from the Post campaign says they were given the screenshots by a member of the Honaker and Gracia campaign after the TPUSA connections surfaced.
Post is running with Lauren Todd, a fifth-year in English. Honaker is a third-year in international studies and Gracia is a second-year in economics and political science.
Justin Kish, the slate coordinator for the Honaker and Gracia campaign and a third-year in civil engineering, told The Lantern he is in the process of resigning from his position on the campaign.
“What I want to make sure happens is that everyone who was on the slate (running as senators connected to the campaign) continues to be able to run,” he said. “We just want to make sure no one is removed from the ballot who had nothing to do with this. Whether that means they can still coordinate with each other or not, I don’t know.”
He said that he expects a statement from the Honaker and Gracia campaign addressing the financial allegations in the near future.
Spencer Dirrig, a second-year in political science and economics who was the adviser to the president for the Honaker and Gracia campaign, also told The Lantern he is also resigning.
Caleb Ross, a deputy campaign manager for the Honaker and Gracia campaign and a second-year in finance, posted a letter of resignation on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. He denied having knowledge of or involvement in the alleged overspending and cover up.
“I strongly believe in our policy platform and I will continually support it,” the statement read. “I signed onto the campaign with a promise of effective and realistic policy ranging from mental health, to affordability, and improving student life overall. Sadly, those promises are no longer achievable.”