Student Government

REDvolution presidential candidate fends off allegations

REDvolution presidential candidate Charles Haston was absolved of a Class A violation for falsifying financial disclosure documents during a Student Government Election Trial Board hearing Monday night.

“The evidence was presented, the facts were argued and the truth was clear,” said REDvolution defender Marcus Smith.

The defense argued that they did not knowingly falsify campaign expenditure documents through omitting payments for their campaign site,, during the first financial disclosure filing period, which ended Feb. 14. They contracted the site to a third-party developer and provided an invoice that showed that they were not billed for the site until Feb. 20. The site, however, was live as early as 10 days before the invoice and they admitted to contacting the developer as early as Feb. 9.

“(REDvolution) received no expenditure. How can we even expect them to put a finance report, an invoice or a monetary amount to which they spent if they don’t even know themselves?” Smith said. “You’re going to put them to a standard in which they must provide evidence without having any information themselves. They cannot be accused of something they did not do.”

Attorney General and prosecutor David Ghably claimed that vice presidential candidate Erica Tat had been the registered administrator. He argued that, as the administrator, Tat should be liable for the site being live during the first week of financial disclosures. He also said that documentation proved that the site had been updated as early as Feb. 3.

“It looks like a complete site. It has pictures; it has a platform. …  It looks like it was well established,” Ghably said. “They had to put it under Erica Tat’s name; that makes her liable, unfortunately, because it was registered under her name.”

The host for the campaign site was GoDaddy LLC, which requires payment for its hosting services. For a site to be live, a payment must have been made before the first week disclosure deadline.

Tat said her name was put as administrator without her consent or knowledge. Independent contractor Lauren Rosenbaum requested Tat’s personal information to use her as REDvolution’s liaison and “thought it best to register the domain using Erica Tat” because she was a member of the party, according to her written testimony.

As a former chief of staff for the 49th Student Government Association administration, Rosenbaum reached out to the party to offer her assistance with building the site, according to her written testimony presented to the board. While working on the site, she had made it live “without the knowledge or consent” of REDvolution during development and was not yet paid for her services.

“She did not receive funds for the website because (in) the industry standard for web design, there is clearly the idea of making a mock-up website, which is what she was attempting to do. And we see that it was a mock-up website because the information was incomplete,” Smith said.

Because Rosenbaum was considered neither a staff member nor a volunteer, her expenditures can be billed separately from REDvolution’s. Rosenbaum paid for the site to be hosted, and she billed REDvolution later, according to the invoice presented by the defense.

Upon hearing that the site was live from Chief Elections Commissioner Kendrick Alridge, the candidates acted immediately to attempt to remove it, Smith said.

Elliot Kauffman of Cougar Pawlitics and Associate Election Commissioner Rebecca Deal were called to testify against the defense. Kauffman had taken screenshots, produced web caches of the site and initiated the complaint against Haston by bringing it to Alridge’s attention. He said the site did not seem like a mock-up and felt as though it was legitimate campaign material.

“When I think of an incomplete website, I think of broken links, I think of pages that don’t have substance on them. Every page had substance, every link was correct. So, to me, it was a completed web page,” Kauffman said. “This is party-building activities … so even the idea that it wasn’t meant to be broadcast until later does not fit into this.”

Rosenbaum purchased the GoDaddy site hosting for $11.99 and billed the party an additional $100 for web development services for a total of $121.23 after taxes, according to REDvolution’s invoice. It was dated Feb. 20 and was created with The site expenditures were reported for the second cycle of financial disclosures.

Though Haston was found not guilty of falsifying financial disclosure documents for omitting them from the first week of campaign expenditures, the entire REDvolution party was implicated for failure to submit required campaign documents in the form of marketing approval forms.

A written warning will be filed and the party is suspended from campaigning for a 24-hour period, which will end today at 9:30 p.m. Haston said he will appeal the ruling.

The commission said it has filed a second Class A violation complaint against REDvolution for another instance of falsifying financial disclosure documents. It has not yet been merited by Ghably as of the release of this publication.

CLASS Senator Guillermo Lopez, who is currently a member of REDvolution, said Alridge was “overzealous” in his pursuit of the party, and as chairman of the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, he will push for impeachment following Alridge’s outburst in which he cursed at the defense after the judge’s decision was made.

 The SGA election starts today from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will continue through Thursday. More information on candidates and polling locations can be found here.

Correction: This article originally stated that CLASS Senator Guillermo Lopez is on the REDvolution ballot. Though he is a member of the party, he is not running on this year’s ballot.

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  • “The fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exacts a toll on our self, our families, our friends, and especially our children. In the end, I believe, as in my case, the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.” – Frank Serpico

    It is important to remember that in this case good prevailed over evil. This is not an attack on any single person but more so the actions of a group of people. Justice needed to be served and I for one am pleased with the outcome. The Student Government Association on any campus is NOT about being corrupt or vindictive, but rather the objective ought to be to increase student engagement and to jump start progress for all people. The case of Haston/Tat vs. SGA Election Commission will forever be one to remember because of the outcome. Faith has been restored that whenever you make an honest mistake, you can be forgiven. It is a shame that in the end Mr. Alridge found it necessary to come out of character and behave so poorly but it is when we are under the most intense pressure that our true self comes to light. The entire Election Commission should be ashamed of themselves for the way they behaved and should publicly apologize for their behavior. The decision of this case had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF YOU GUYS!! The mere fact that all of you were so upset just shows that there is an agenda you are all pushing for. Not to mention that the person who appointed Mr. Alridge as Chief Election Commissioner is running for President of the party, Cougar Pawlitics, that provided this information to the elections commission. There is an agenda that the Elections Commission was trying to push forward and I am for one happy to say that this will not be the case. I wish the best of luck to everyone running and ask each of you to continue with honesty and integrity. Congratulations to Mr. Haston, Ms. Tat, and the entire REDvolution party.

    • It’s funny to see that someone not on the Election Commission speak on behalf of the Election Commission about what their intent was. My favorite thing about this trial, though, is how everyone conveniently forgets that the Sergeant at Arms threatened to kick Alridge’s ass and that 2 members of REDvolution (one of them being the chairman of the Internal Affairs committee) were posting personal attacks on Alridge’s character and going out of their way during the trial to dig up dirt on him from 3 years ago and posting it on facebook. Don’t act like that party doesn’t have a personal vendetta against him either. No one is completely innocent.

      • Yes it is funny that someone who has absolutely zero ties to any of the parties running has noticed the lies and corruption spread by Mr. Alridge and the three ladies he drug along with him to that trial. But in order to properly settle this all I am asking is that you answer the following questions…When the first verdict came back and the judge announced that he found the REDVOLUTION party guilty of a class c offense, why did Mr. Alridge fist pump and yell out an accomplished and excited “YES!” Why did it matter to him so much to prevent an entire party, that is most likely going to win, from campaigning for 24 hours? Kendrick Alridge isn’t running for a position is he?! He doesn’t belong to a party does he? So why would it matter to him so much? Furthermore, why did he become so enraged when the verdict of NOT GUILTY came back for the class a offense? Why did he yell and scream profanities? Why is he so upset that Charles Haston and Erica Tat are still in this race? Just please someone, anyone, all of you answer these questions. Thanks!

        • I actually talked to him after the election and he was telling me that he was surprised that it was a guilty verdict. It’s not that he thought that they would rule for redvolution, but that they would rule against him, especially because they had a high standard of proof.

          It’s a little surprising that people think he shouldn’t be upset or happy about any ruling and that he should take them as they come. The commission files complaints for a reason: to get verdicts. It’s no surprise that he will have a reaction, especially after seeing all of the facebook messages and the comments on the article published BEFORE the trial (especially yours, Shelby). These have all been done by redvolution members and supporters. I’ve yet to see a single negative comment or thing published about how unfair Kendrick is being regarding anything he has done, nor even anything about the commission. Keep in mind that he is one of four people. I don’t know why anyone isn’t digging up dirt on the other 3 commissioners like they are with him.

          Maybe it’s because they have something against him personally? It’s weird because he wasn’t impeached for overstepping his bounds with the controversial paper rule, but he is for this? Hm.

          • You still didn’t answer any of the questions, Catastophic! The Elecitons Commission is supposed to remain neutral when it comes to these situations. The Election Commissions job is to represent the election from all sides. Being happy is not the same as pumping your fist and yelling yes. Being upset is not the same as yelling out profanity. Furthermore, how do you know that the negative comments on the first article are from redvolution members or supporters? All of the post, besides mine, were submitted anonymously. I would love to know what insight you have to knowing this. And just to be extremely clear, no one is “digging” up dirt on Kendrick. The information posted online is public information that everyone has access to. Moreover, dirt was intended to be dug. If Mr. Alridge or you didn’t want this to happen, then maybe his behavior should have been different. Lastly, it is a compilation of all his actions that have reached this point. He hasn’t been impeached YET, just so you are aware. Matter of fact, it hasn’t even been voted on yet. HMMMMMMMM

            • I wasn’t talking about the members here. It’s common knowledge that redvolution supporters/members posted things on their own facebook only defaming Kendrick, and not the rest of the commission. You don’t call pulling up an article from 2011 “digging up dirt”? Please.

              The Elections Commission’s job is to run the elections and stick to the code. They received a cease and desist for the paper situation (and the IA didn’t call an emergency meeting when that happened, oddly enough), and that was entirely their fault. They found a discrepancy in Mr. Haston’s financial records and evidence was brought to them. It broke the code (prior to them knowing about the letter from “Lauren”), and they sought a verdict.

              The worst part of this entire situation is that no one is saying anything about the rest of the Commissioners. I know some of them, and I know that they’re outspoken and it’s very surprising to me that people are only targeting Kendrick. “Moreover, dirt was intended to be dug. If Mr. Alridge or you didn’t want this to happen, then maybe his behavior should have been different.” These personal attacks are absolutely unwarranted and have no bearing on his ability to run the elections. Maybe he is a shitty person. Maybe he did lie. Maybe he did pose as someone he wasn’t. The thing is that A. the Senate should have done their job in vetting him when he was a candidate and B. how do his lies have anything to do with how the elections are run? He might not be the most honest person, but having 3 commissioners that don’t have drama with any of the candidates and an advisor probably keeps him in check.

              “Lastly, it is a compilation of all his actions that have reached this point.” What do you even mean by this? And do you have any proof to these claims you’re about to make about his character? Or are you just going to give more hearsay?

              • It’s not hearsay. It’s fact. And if you would pay attention you would understand why all of these things are important when it comes to him doing his job.

                • No matter what name we give it or how we judge it, a candidates character is central to political reporting because it is central to a citizens decision in voting.

  • The lack of class displayed by the entire Redvolution party through this ordeal is abhorrent. Throughout the entire process members from their party have been attacking Mr. Alridge’s personal character with extreme vulgarity and made up facts. On top of all of this, Mr. Haston’s displayed an extremely rude attitude towards the other presidential candidates and representatives from their party. This is inexcusable and extremely unprofessional on his part. I have never seen a group of individuals act so inmature and childish. They are a disgrace to the SGA.

  • A second correction: Guillermo Lopez has never run on the REDvolution party, and, while supporting them, has never “been a member.”

  • @ The Haters of SGA Election Commission…SGA Election Commission Rulers….I am a very proud mother Go SGA Election Commission Team…..

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