Allaire campaign weighs in on complaint against Causey

By JJ Dickinson | Contributor

I’m a campaign manager for Austin Allaire, and I asked to write this because I want to make our side of the story known ahead of today’s runoff election.

Last week, you may have seen some posts about events happening behind the scenes in the election process. An article published in the Lariat on Friday described a case our campaign team raised against another candidate’s campaign.

Our team did not raise this complaint maliciously. Rather, we felt the need to address what we saw as a gap in the Electoral Code. After personally reviewing the code, the standing of monetary transfers and financial incentives still remains unclear.

This was not a complaint against Hannah Causey or against the endorsement she was given, but rather it was a complaint against what we saw as an inequitable advantage and loophole that could be abused in further elections. Essentially, our fear was, in future elections, a candidate will receive a similar financial sponsorship that will give them an unfair advantage over their competition who does not have a similarly-incentivized endorsement.

As a campaign team, we are required to write an expense report for everything that is purchased by or donated to the campaign. Typical endorsements, like the Lariat’s, come through platforms that are freely available to all students and do not need to be expensed. However, this means that third-party endorsements from for-profit entities that offer financial incentives are a gray area within the Electoral Code. Should they be expensed on the candidates’ financial reports? Or should there be another mode for reporting this type of endorsement?

Again, let me clarify: Our goal in pursuing this complaint was not to punish one specific campaign; rather, it was to bring to light an issue that I think will only become more prevalent with time. Austin stands for accountability, accessibility and affordability. It would be a major error on our campaign team’s account if we did not pursue a campaign that represented these ideals before the election even occurred.

As a campaign team, we want to be embody accountability, which is why we asked to write this column. We want to embody accessibility, which is why I’m giving each of you my email address and Austin’s to send any further questions you might have. And we want to embody affordability, which is why financially equitable elections are an important issue for us.

So as we enter this run-off, I ask you, fellow Bears, please vote. Please know that you have two candidates before you who will both do a good job supporting our university. Please do your research about our platforms, go to the polls, and engage in the electoral process today.

JJ Dickinson is a junior medical humanities major from Grand Rapids, Mich., and a campaign manager for student body president candidate Austin Allaire.