The Osage Nation Election Board issued more than 20 fines to candidates in the last month, with some candidates receiving two or more.
Most of the fines are due to a little known rule buried within the election board’s 19-page rules and regulations, which every candidate received upon registering.
Under Rule Two, Campaign Finance Reporting and Practice, Section 6(F), states that “Candidates who fail to state clearly the name of the individual or business entity responsible for placing advertisement” will be fined $50. Advertisements include newspaper ads, yard signs, banners, car magnets, anything printed to advertise a candidate’s campaign.
For example, if a candidate sends a mail out and it doesn’t say who paid for the mail out the candidate is fined $50. If a candidate places a yard sign and the sign doesn’t say who paid for it, the candidate is fined $50. But, the candidate is fined only once. Candy Thomas, a candidate in the 2012 election, had issue with this.
Thomas, who has stayed compliant and read her rules and regulations upon receiving them, knew to put the wording on her advertising, she said.
At a May 22 Osage Election Board meeting, she said, “If they [candidates] can’t read election rules, how are they going to read legislation?”
She asked the board to take up the issue before the next election by not only issuing the $50 fine but also pulling up the signs if the rule is violated.
If a candidate fails to pay their fine by May 30, the consequence is forfeiture of votes.
Indian Villages and Free Speech
At a May 25 election board meeting, the board reached a compromise with residents from the three Osage Indian Villages. Prior to May 25 it was illegal to place candidate campaign signs in any of the three Villages located in Pawhuska, Hominy and Grayhorse, according to the election board rules and regulations. After some Village residents complained about violations of Free Speech, the Election Board compromised.
Candidate campaign signs are now allowed in resident’s yards, but nowhere else in the Villages. Any sign not placed in a resident’s yard will be pulled up and returned to the election office.
Campaign Reporting Statements
Candidates were also fined for failure to turn in a campaign reporting statement, which were due May 18. Those candidates will receive a fine of $50 each week until the statement is turned in. If the statement is not turned in by May 30, 4:30 p.m., the candidate forfeits their votes.
Fines also went out for failure to produce a bank statement that shows the candidate established a separate bank account for campaign purposes.
Candidates can appeal the violations with the board by turning in a written appeal within five business days after receiving the violation.
The Election Board meets again May 31 at 2 p.m. at the election office.
The Osage News compiled a list of those candidates fined for violating Rule Two, Campaign Finance Reporting and Practice, Section 6(F). Also compiled are those candidates who were compliant with their Campaign Reporting Statements, those who are not compliant and those issued $150 fines for no bank statements, and those who failed to turn in statements.
The campaign reporting statements have not been made public yet.
The Osage News received the names of those candidates who have paid their fines up until May 24. Candidates may have paid some or all of these fines by the time this article was published online.
All candidates were notified of their fines by certified mail, sent to the address the candidate registered with the Election Office. In the case of the campaign statements, candidates were also emailed and called on May 25.
Osage Nation Election Supervisor, Alexis Rencountre, said the final tally of candidates who have paid their fines and become compliant would be announced in the May 31 meeting at 2 p.m.
Election Board Meeting April 12, $50 fine
Shannon Edwards (Osage News Ad) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 2, $50 fine
Maria Whitehorn (signs) Paid
Justin Mays (signs) Paid
Roscoe Mays (signs) Paid
Shannon Edwards (mail out)
John Maker (mail out)
Archie Mason (Osage News Online Banner Ad)
Election Board Meeting May 7, $50 fine
John Maker (signs) Paid
Election Board Meeting May 14, $50 fine
Cecelia Tallchief (mail out)
Jerri Jean Branstetter (mail out & use of Osage Nation work equipment)
Amanda Proctor (Osage News Ad)
Kathryn Red Corn (Osage News Ad)
Maria Whitehorn (Banner)
Hank Hainzinger (Osage News Ad)
RJ Walker (Osage News Ad)
Election Board Meeting May 22, $50 fine
Carl Sellers (signs)
Hank Hainzinger (signs, car magnet & banner)
Shannon Edwards (signs)
Archie Mason (late campaign reporting statement)
Election Board Meeting May 25, $50 fine
Shane Rencountre (signs)
RJ Walker (Bigheart Times Ad)
CAMPAIGN REPORTING STATEMENTS
Nicki Revard Lorenzo
Olivia “Libbi” Gray
Teresa DeRoin Hudgins
Angela Marie Pratt
Not in Compliance, no fine if rectified by May 30
Kathryn Red Corn (no name on bank statement)
Berbon Hamilton (no reconciliation form)
Cecelia Tallchief (no list of donations, no reconciliation form, no list of expenditures)
Jacque Jones (needs balance from previous bank statement)
Matthew Shunkamolah (donations form not completed, no reconciliation form)
Joseph Roger Lynn (no name on bank statement)
Not in Compliance, $150 Fine Issued for No Bank Statement
Jerri Jean Branstetter
No Campaign Reporting Statement, forfeiture of votes if not turned in by May 30
Jozi Tall Chief
Rose Mary Shaw