16 September 2004
Lorraine M. Thompson, Manager
State Board of Elections
200 North Ninth Street, Suite 101
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Dear Ms. Thompson:
I am in receipt of your letter of 23 July 2004 and supporting documents. Having found seven erroneous claims on the first page, I can neither attach any credibility to S.B.E.'s interpretation of the law nor understand why my tax money is being wasted spreading misinformation.
Here are the specific mistakes in the document, "Federal Law, Deadlines and Ballot Access Requirements":
As there is little or no mention in the aforementioned document of anything a vice-presidential candidate must do, I see no reason for me to concern myself further with this document.
The "Joint declaration of intent to be write-in candidates for president and vice-president" instructs a single notary to witness the signatures of two different candidates who may live 3,000 miles apart. It appears that if these people never set foot in the same room, no less in the presence of a notary, they are prohibited from running together. As you may be aware, the Secret Service goes to great lengths to keep distance between former Texas Governor George AWOL Bush (son of the former president) and former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, lest they both become targets of a single attack by terrorists. Yet this elaborate security procedure must be compromised merely to satisfy the formal requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Imagine that!
Regardless, I am a candidate for vice-president (as well as for Congress in the sixth district). If the state does not like that, it is free to prosecute me. I look forward to the free publicity. I can only repeat the words of Dirty Harry repeated by Fletch: Go ahead; make my day!
Subject: NOT ACCEPTED: Statement of Organization for Your Candidacy
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 09:56:25 -0400
From: "Chris Piper"
This email shall serve notice that the State Board of Elections (SBE) has not accepted your Statement of Organization for your campaign for two reasons:
It is important to note that the candidate's committee does not mean that the campaign has a group of people. The committee may comprise of one person. The term "committee" is a general term used to describe the entity through which all funds are received and disbursed. In other words, the committee is the campaign's bank account.
SBE requests that you submit an amended Statement of Organization properly identifying the name of the committee within 10 calendar days of today, July 3, 2007.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Manager, Campaign Finance Division
State Board of Elections
200 N. 9th St., Suite 101
Richmond, VA 23219
To: Chris Piper
Subject: Re: NOT ACCEPTED: Statement of Organization for Your Candidacy
Greetings, Mr. Piper:
I have analyzed your correspondence dated July 3 regarding the above-referenced document.
In Item #1, you claim that "SBE requires an original, wet signature copy to be submitted". Surely you are aware that federal law mandates that an electronic facsimile of a document be accepted as original. Furthermore, page 8 of "November 2007 Election Candidacy Requirements For General Assembly" stipulates that the "Statement of Organization for a Candidate" must be filed both with the "State Board of Elections and Electoral Board of the candidate's county or city of residence at the office of the General Registrar". It does not specify that the original go to one destination, the copy to the other. Indeed, I asked the election staff in Franklin County, who said it was up to me whether to send the original or a copy to S.B.E. As I see it, S.B.E. created the ambiguity as to the requirements for original documents. I believe a jury would see the situation that way, also. Nevertheless, you should soon receive a document which I believe to be the original.
In Item #2, you correctly identify the fictitious name I have been compelled to use. I maintain that it does not constitute a committee, which is clearly defined by standard English dictionaries as a group. In this case, there is no group. Therefore, by ordinary definition, there can be no committee. I understand that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of association, so that one can never be forced to establish a committee. (If it matters, I question whether S.B.E. can tell the difference between a committee established by a candidate and one established by supporters with the consent of the candidate.)
You claim that there is a statutory requirement that "that any candidate for the General Assembly establish a candidate campaign committee and that the committee's name properly identify the name of the candidate", citing § 24.2-947.1 subsection C2 of the Code of Virginia. The only information I find mentioned in that subsection is "the full name and mailing address for the campaign committee". You have the full fictional name and address of the entity I established at your instruction. It is not a committee, because it is not a group. It apparently has little to do with any campaign, an agressive effort similar to a military action, which a pacifist like me would not initiate. I find no statutory mandate that any entity bear my name. I found no such instructions in the hefty pile of papers from S.B.E. At your instruction, Mr. Piper, I opened a bank account at my own expense. To satisfy the bank's policy, I purchased a Fictitious Name Certificate from Franklin County at my own expense (stating that I intended to transact business under that name, which I had no intention of doing). I obtained an Employer Identification Number under false pretenses, as no employment is involved. Do you now expect me to spend hours of my time and incur the same expenses again, because of S.B.E.'s mistake? It seems a destitute candidate could quickly be rendered penniless at the whim of the Commonwealth. Fortunately, I have cash to spare, but not to waste.
I do not feel I can place my own name on a political entity. The creation of a vanity enterprise is contrary to my cultural ethic as a first-generation Norwegian-American. (Few Scandinavian businesses and brands are named after their founders. For example, Saab is an acronym for "Svenska Aeroplanaktiebolaget", meaning Swedish Aeroplane Limited. Rather than references to specific persons or anatomy, Lego and Volvo simply mean "I assemble" and "I roll" in Latin.)
I understand § 24.2-947.1 to require that the candidate specify, but not necessarily establish, a committee. The law appears to allow the candidate to use a committee established by another individual or already in existence. Are you telling me that S.B.E. expects every incumbent in the House of Delegates who runs for re-election to establish a new committee every two years? If not, there seems to be selective application of the policy.
You suggest I consult the "Summary of Laws and Policies for Candidate Campaign Committees" for more information. Where is that available? My Google search turned up no posting of a document by that name. The table of contents for the Virginia Administrative Code at <http://leg1.state.va.us/000/reg/TOC.HTM> mentions nothing about elections. How is a person supposed to find the regulations you mention?
Incidentally, subsection C3 requires that the candidate provide the "daytime phone number of the treasurer". I suspect this is discriminatory. Adherents of the Amish religion are proscribed from using any technology that hit the market as recently as 1876. Many factory workers, farm workers, landscapers, health personnel, students, hoboes, and drivers of commercial vehicles cannot easily accept phone calls during their daytime hours, making it necessary to find a retiree or night shift worker with a home phone, or a white-collar worker, to serve as treasurer. That rule significantly limits the possible pool of treasurers in some communities. I would love to challenge that subsection, but have no standing, having had a phone available during the day since 1990.
When you say, "the committee is the campaign's bank account", you seem to be twisting the English language beyond recognition.
Questions? Comments? Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Last revised: 7 December 2020