Halito Brothers & Sisters,

I have received word that the lavish kick off campaign party for Miko Batton was paid for out of a long standing campaign fund. Council members and Chiefs in the past have not had challengers for their seats in office, hence the surplus. My question would be where do these funds come from? Is the bank account where the funds are housed pay interest and if so to whom? Are these funds from Enterprises? Are they donations or a combination of both? To me, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, sound like funds that belong to the Chahta people. Why, you may ask. Well because they wouldn’t exist without the sovereignty and existence of our tribe and our tribe wouldn’t exist without our people.

The question about whether these funds were added to by a former Chief with donations from certain construction companies is also in question. Is this the same fund mentioned at the Jason Merida trial? Which begs the question, why do we even have to ask all these questions? This my Chahta family is at the heart of transparency. I personally don’t see anything wrong with having a special campaign fund that acquired it’s monies through any of the above mentioned ways. I would just like someone, anyone to stand up and say “yep it’s a campaign fund and here is the money trail”.

Also, as you know I think it’s ludicrous that a person would have to be well above upper middle class to run for an elected office within our tribe. I’ve said this on numerous occasions. Listen carefully to what I am about to write, if this campaign fund, belongs to the Chahta people then it shouldn’t benefit ONLY the sitting elected officials as it does now. An agreed upon amount should be divided evenly to all the candidates that qualify to run for an elected office. Then after receiving the amount of funds no one candidate should be allowed to spend an exuberant amount of money over that fund amount. If receipts need to be turned in showing the funds were actually used for campaign materials then so be it. We don’t want our tribe to mirror that particular trait of our federal government where millions are spent to attain an elected office.

So as we are readying ourselves to vote I ask only that as a Chahta citizen that you gather all the information you can about the candidates in each council district and the candidates for Chief. It is important to discern between expensive campaign materials and rhetoric verses grass roots efforts for change. This election year is so very important after the exposure of corruption and the rejection of transparency concerning distribution of the registered voters list. Our elected officials must be held accountable. So far, they have refused to answer questions that we as Chahta deserve answers to. They may even have logical legitimate answers but the silence is deafening and reeks of the old school mentality of keeping our people in the dark.

I suspect that you, like me, could handle the truth.

Chi Pisa La Chike

S. Crowder (Choctaw Wright)

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