Three separate appeals regarding results of the Cherokee Nation election were filed with the tribe's Supreme Court Monday, after Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Bryan Warner won the elections for principal chief and deputy chief, respectively.
The official results, which were certified by the CN Election Commission last week, had Hoskin defeating Dick Lay, 57.51 percent to 27.95 percent. Meanwhile, principal chief candidate David Walkingstick, whose disqualification by the EC was upheld by the court, received 14.54 percent of the votes.
Lay is asking the CN Supreme Court to order a new election, alleging that Hoskin violated campaign laws and that he should be disqualified on the same basis as Walkingstick: for accepting illegal in-kind contributions. The appeal was filed by Lay’s attorney, Deborah Reed.
The former CN secretary of state and newly elected principal chief reported $28,524 as “miscellaneous” expenditures to Cherokee Future LLC, but Lay’s attorney alleges Hoskin’s revised financial disclosure report shows he broke campaign finance laws.
“However, Hoskin itemized as advertisement, printing, compensation, office expenses, travel, food, and miscellaneous $140,000 previously reported as miscellaneous items as consulting feeds to Cherokee Future,” the petition read. “This Revised Financial Disclosure Report is an example of the violations that Hoskin accepted corporation in-kind contributions to his campaign, authorized illegal expenditures, and falsified his Financial Disclosure Report.”
The petition claims that requests from Cherokee Nation citizens Adam Shepard, Michael Moore, and Robin Mayes to the EC, calling for investigations of the Hoskin campaign, have been ignored. The petition accuses the Hoskin-Warner campaign of accepting “almost $600,000 of illegal in-kind contributions from Cherokee Future.”
A similar appeal was filed by Meredith Frailey, who ran for deputy principal chief against Warner. Frailey claims Warner also accepted illegal in-kind contributions and that he should be disqualified and a new election held. Frailey’s appeal was also submitted by Reed. The petition accuses Warner of falsifying his financial disclosure report, because items previously labeled as miscellaneous expenditures were reclassified as consulting fees to Cherokee Future in his revised financial report.
The Hoskin-Warner campaign contends the allegations brought against them were already dismissed, as the EC cleared the campaign in May.
“The Cherokee People have spoken overwhelmingly. This is a last-ditch effort to sling mud by raising the same allegations that were found to be untrue and dismissed by the Election Commission. Chief-elect Hoskin and Deputy Chief-elect Warner are focused on healing a Nation that is recovering from natural disasters, and leading our Nation for the next four years,” the campaign said in a statement.
Cherokee Nation District 13 Tribal Councilor Buel Anglen, who was removed from the June 1 race for not sitting out a full term, also filed an appeal with the CNSP. Anglen’s attorneys for the petition are Reed and former Principal Chief Chad Smith. Anglen has asked the court to declare the District 13 Tribal Council election as invalid and to hold a new election complying with the law of the tribe. He says tribal law requires a candidate to be elected, even if only one person is on the ballot. Joe Deere, who questioned Anglen’s eligibility in February, was certified by the EC as the new tribal councilor for District 13.
“This Court has no alternative but to find that the certification of Joe Deere as candidate elect for District 13 to be invalid because a determination of the results of the election is impossible since no election was conducted, no candidate appeared on the ballot, no votes were case for Deere, and the people did not elect anyone for the District 13 Council seat,” the appeal states.
The full reports can be found at www.cherokeecourts.org.