SGA presidential candidate Shield’s team reports opponent Martin for overspending on election 

Student Government Association presidential candidate Sarah Shield’s campaign team is facing a potential election violation after reporting opponent Madeline Martin for overspending on campaign materials. 

A receipt sent to The Crimson White shows an order placed under Martin’s name on Feb. 1 at an Office Depot in Northport. The receipt shows a purchase of 100 spiral-bound notebooks, which include a cover page titled “Madeline Martin SGA President,” for $969.38.

The spending limit for the presidential campaign is $750, and exceeding the limit is a six-point infraction.

This expense is not included on her financial disclosure forms on the SGA website, which is required of all candidates during their campaigns. 

Martin reports $468.83 on her most recent financial disclosure forms for paint pens, cups and buttons. 

Unreported expenses are a nine-point infraction per the elections manual. 

Failure to report expenses is considered a “major violation.” Per the elections manual, an “accumulation of 12 infraction points or conviction of a major violation is grounds for the elections board to consider disqualification.” 

Martin threatened legal action against The Crimson White if the purchase was reported publicly. 

“This had nothing to do with my campaign,” Martin said. “Any purchase at Office Depot, they’re completely unrelated.”

Shield’s campaign team reported the purchase as a violation to the Elections Board on Feb. 27. 

The Elections Board notified Shield’s campaign manager, Garrett Burnett, on Feb. 28, that members of Martin’s campaign team reported a violation against Burnett for intentionally interfering in the campaign of another candidate and said he was making “false allegations.” 

Martin’s campaign said the false allegations were a result of Burnett’s involvement with the Shield campaign. 

“As you can see in the evidence that I sent in the last email, Ms. Martin created spiral-bound books with all her campaign information and other relevant details about herself,” Burnett wrote in a Feb. 28 email to the Elections Board. “These materials should have been reported, but they were not. The receipt clearly indicates that she has beyond exceeded her budget when included with the things that she did not choose to disclose. This election shouldn’t be dominated by the candidate who spends the most money.” 

After a hearing on March 1, Burnett said the campaign is still waiting to be notified on a potential penalty, but he was told that the Elections Board was in the process of “fact-finding.”

Elections Board Chair Reese Caldwell said the Elections Board is aware of this information and is “still meeting to review the claim and all supporting materials filed.” Caldwell said the Elections Board is unable to comment further on a pending matter.