Nothing like a federal investigation to get the election kicked into high gear. Even if it appears to only be a one day long investigation that never really WAS an investigation to begin with.
The Baker campaign said they had ‘clear evidence’ that Smith’s campaign was ‘violating federal law by shaking down tribal employees for money.’ In an email blast, Bakers campaign said Smith’s actions were ‘not only wrong, but illegal.’
Baker attached a letter that he says three Cherokee Nation employees high up in the health department sent to other health group employees. The letter spends a lot of time talking about how awesome the health group is, a paragraph or so talking about registering to vote in the election, etc. and a few sentences on giving to Smith’s campaign, asking ‘health professionals’ to give ‘$500-$1000’ to Smith’s campaign. Baker claims this is a violation of something called the Hatch Act.
Smith’s campaign responds by saying the U.S. Attorney has already looked at this and said nothing illegal happened. Smith’s email includes comments from the Cherokee Nation Attorney General Hammons who said, “I was made aware of allegations by Bill John Baker's campaign that Cherokee Nation Health Services employees had violated the Hatch Act by campaigning for Chad Smith. I have spoken with the U. S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and have been informed that there is no Hatch Act violation. That federal Act pertains to partisan campaign actions by federal employees. The employees are not federal employees and a tribal election is not a partisan election.” (click link for full story)
This can hardly be the first time in the history of Cherokee elections that employees have been asked to donate money to candidates. It is the first time anyone thought it was a violation of federal law, and the feds have said, no, that’s not the case. We assume Baker doesn’t think this is a violation of tribal law, or he would have said so.
It’s amazing how much time is being spent on who is giving to whom, but those are a lot of the questions we are getting at Cherokee Truth.
In this case, Baker immediately got an answer to a legal question he raised. Hopefully, from here on out, he’ll use the truth to educate Cherokee voters. Maybe he doesn’t like employees supporting Smith, but he shouldn’t accuse them of breaking the law if they haven’t done so. Maybe that one-day "investigation" will be the end of it, but for some reason we don’t think so.