Apr 062008

A budget discrepancy surrounding a free concert on the plaza last Wednesday nearly took presidential candidates Taylor Smoot and Quinn Girrens off the ballot for the 2008 student government elections.

The Associated Student of CSU elections committee raised concerns that presidential candidate Smoot and vice presidential candidate Girrens had undervalued a promotional performance by local band Modus in their donation and expenditure report, which required documentation reviewed every Monday and Friday to ensure a fair process for all candidates.

Although Modus performed for free, Emily Laue, the ASCSU elections manager, said the performance still needed to be reported with an accurate theoretical value, so no presidential candidates campaign exceeds the $2,000 spending cap.

“Everything needs to be reported at fair market value,” Laue said.

If a candidate exceeds the $2,000 spending limit during a two-week campaign period, they will automatically be expelled from the election, according to strict ASCSU campaign code.

Because Smoot and Girrens were already within a few hundred dollars of their budget and had pending expenditures, they were inching closely to the $2,000 mark, Laue said.

A hearing, held Thursday night, gave the candidates a chance to amend the value they had reported for Modus’ performance, and they cooperated on a new amount for the fair market value of the performance.

Smoot emphasized in a phone interview that they had complied with the elections code and everything was quickly resolved.

“We were complying,” Smoot said.

Laue also said the candidates werevery cooperative and the issue was resolved smoothly.

“The elections committee and the Taylor and Quinn campaign worked together,” Laue said.

Laue said they resolved the issue at the hearing and set a new precedent for determining the fair market value of performances.

“They were not found in violation of anything,” Laue said. “They were willing to work with the committee and abided by the rules.”

Smoot said the hearing was to determine the value of the performance and wait for approval on what the candidates estimated the performance to be worth, which was all done in a fair manner.

“It set a precedent for how it is going to be in the future,” Smoot said.

The committee ultimately decided a performance’s fair market value should be determined by taking the lowest average of either the amount paid for the last 10 performances, or in the last three months, and have that average constitute the fair market value.

The fair market value for Modus’ performance was determined to be $82 Thursday night, thus keeping Taylor and Quinn safely below the $2,000 budget limit for their campaign.

Students will be able to place their vote for one of the four presidential candidates today through Wednesday.

Senior Reporter Kaeli West can be reached at news@collegian.com

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