By Clare McMahon Hoya Staff Writer

Three tickets in this month’s GUSA executive elections filed a joint formal complaint Sunday against the Rip Andrews (SFS ’01)/John Butler (COL ’01) campaign ticket with Election Commissioner Jackie Shapiro (COL ’99). Monday night, Shapiro announced that she had decided to drop the charges following a GUSA investigation.

The complaint accused Andrews and Butler of early campaigning and failing to list campaign expenses in accordance with GUSA regulations.

Shapiro said she decided to drop the charges after talking to all the witnesses named by the complainants. “I haven’t found anything which substantiates the charges,” she said.

However, Shapiro said she did not see the complaint as an attempt to smear the Andrews/Butler campaign. “It may be a question of a lot of misperceptions,” she said.

Similar complaints have been voiced annually for the last several years.

The complaint contained four charges against the Andrews/Butler ticket, one of which alleged that they bought meals for potential campaign workers in violation of the GUSA election bylaws.

Also, Andrews and Butler were accused of buying an e-mail address on America OnLine for their campaign, an expense they did not include in their financial statement to Shapiro. Candidates for the GUSA executive are required to list every expense related to campaigning, according to GUSA bylaws.

The complaint also stated that Andrews and Butler used this e-mail address to begin their campaign early, and solicit the votes of non-committed students.

Finally, the complaint charged that the Andrews/Butler ticket campaigned “for an extended period of time prior to the beginning of official campaigning . by engaging potential supporters in discussions of platform issues.”

Shapiro added that the Election Commission decided not to pursue the charges concerning the Andrews/Butler AOL membership, because “the account has five different screen names and it has been up and running for only a month. We decided to charge Rip and John the cost of one-fifth of a month’s membership, which totals $4.20.”

The $4.20 charge was not a fine, but was added to the Andrews/Butler campaign budget as a regular campaign expense.

The complaint was signed by the presidential and vice-presidential candidates from each of the three other tickets, all of whom denied feeling any animosity for the Andrews/Butler ticket.

According to presidential candidate Jon Yeatman (MSB ’00), “We’d all heard rumors, and the role of the Election Commission is to investigate any report of impropriety.”

Presidential candidate Ron Palmese (MSB ’00) agreed, adding, “There’s nothing personal here. We just want to make sure there’s an even playing field.”

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