NES Complaint to Fair Elections Complaint 7-24-19 WBAI

Complainant – Cerene Roberts

The complainant states that candidate Jim Dingeman posted to the WBAI local station board list serv on July 5th two things: a) a copy of potential candidate Dee Dee Halleck’s candidate statement and b) made statements that disparaged one of the candidate slates, the Justice and Unity Caucus. No copy of the email in question was provided by the complainant. The complainant requests the disqualification of both candidates: Dingeman and Halleck.

Discussion: As referenced in Complaint #7, the WBAI candidate paperwork filing period was extended until July 6 at midnight. In the first prong of the complaint, the complainant states that publishing a candidate’s official campaign statement on the WBAI local station board list constitutes an illegal use of Pacifica resources. The complainant does not provide the email itself, so there is no evidentiary record provided. The complainant is not a current member of the WBAI local station board.

The relevant campaign rule is #3 which refers to “endorsement emails” and states:

“Endorsement emails (web-based & list-serve) are permitted only if the email addresses were not gathered by the use of any station resources or web site. Endorsement emails must contain the disclaimer statement.”

Reposting a candidate statement, which is already posted on a Pacifica-owned site, is arguably not an endorsement email, but the complaint, in addition to having occurred during the candidate paperwork gray area, does not provide evidentiary material to establish that the email was sent to the listserv in question nor what it contained.

The second prong of the complaint is “disparagement of the Justice and Unity group” and by association the listener candidates recommended by and affiliated with that group. Again there is no evidentiary material provided. The complainant characterizes the disparagement in question as “declared parallels between the 5 Supreme Court right-wingers and the Justice & Unity Campaign (J&U) which has supported a Program Service (aka Public Service) Operating Agreement or PSOA with MNN”.

The relevant rule in question (since there is no rule prohibiting “disparagement”) is rule # 6 regarding libelous or slanderous statements about candidates. It is impossible to assess whether a statement is libelous or slanderous without the actual words being provided. We cannot rule on the complainants paraphrase of the statements in the email.

The Yahoo Groups website provides only one email from Dingeman on July 5th and while it does contain Halleck’s statement, there is no evidence of the stated “disparagement” on that website.

RULING: No ruling can be made as no evidentiary material has been provided to support the allegations by the complainant. Fails for lack of an evidentiary record.