Update 11:40 p.m.: The Yaman Desai and Whitney Langston campaign withdrew from the Student Government election after emails obtained by The Daily Texan revealed Desai encouraged the agent to lie to Gardner's webmaster.
Update at 6:50 p.m.: Desai said he questions whether his campaign has misrepresented itself and whether the agent was actually a part of the campaign at the time she misrepresented herself. However, Election Supervisory Board chair Eric Nimmer maintains the campaign is still disqualified until the Judicial Court determines whether they are allowed back into the election.
Presidential candidate Yaman Desai and running mate Whitney Langston face disqualification by the Election Supervisory Board for allegedly seeking information about another campaign and misrepresenting themselves as an official University entity. The Judicial court placed an injunction on their disqualification and will hear their case at 9 p.m.
Desai and Langston filed complaints against candidates Madison Gardner and Antonio Guevara over the weekend for failing to report campaign purchases at fair market value and failing to report design and consulting fees for their website. Gardner and Guevara filed a counterclaim of misrepresentation that resulted in a subsequent investigation by the Election Supervisory Board.
In the investigation, the Election Supervisory Board found that an agent of Desai and Langston portrayed herself as an official University entity by creating a false title on a social media site and subsequently emailing the third party web consultant for Gardner and Guevara seeking information.
The opinion of the Board was released in a written statement to The Daily Texan by Election Supervisory Board chair Eric Nimmer. The document stated that Desai and Langston have been disqualified for three reasons: for having a campaign agent claiming to be an agent employed by the University and identifying herself as a “Election Supervisory Representative,” for previous attempts to contact the third party web designer resulting in the invention of a fraudulent title and for offering little or no objection to the authenticity of the evidence during their hearing with the Board.
An “agent” refers to any candidate appointed worker who is authorized to speak and act on behalf of the candidate, according to the Student Government Election Code.
“While the above holds true the board has no choice to consider the previously stated behavior as a misdeed by the entire campaign and not the individual,” the statement read. “Therefore what has been interpreted by the board as a fraudulent action applies to entire party as a single entity.”
Desai said he and Langston have appealed the decision and will stand before the Election Supervisory Board later tonight. Desai said they are still plan on appearing at the Candidates Debate tonight hosted by The Daily Texan in the Student Activity Center at 7 p.m.
Alexander Jones, an agent for Gardner and Guevara’s campaign, declined to comment on the disqualification.
Sunday, Gardner and Guevara were found to be in violation of the code for failing to accurately price their purchases and fined ten percent of their total campaign spending limit.