CNN: Kanye West’s strange presidential bid unravels thanks to a messy ballot access operation
08.29.2020 / By Fredreka Schouten, Gregory Krieg and Rachel Janfaza
CNN: Kanye West's strange presidential bid unravels thanks to a messy ballot access operation
(CNN) – Kanye West is on the ballot in Minnesota and Tennessee but just missed the filing deadline in Wisconsin. Missouri said his petition lacked more than 3,400 valid signatures, but he’s gone to court in a last-ditch attempt to get on the ballot in the swing state of Ohio.
He’s also blown past the first deadline to tell federal regulators how he’s using campaign money and has only hit the campaign trail for a rally once. But in Arizona, one of the last remaining presidential battlegrounds where he could still qualify for the ballot, the West campaign is gathering signatures.
A little more than two months before Election Day, rapper-producer West’s attention-grabbing presidential bid is bumping along in fits and starts — dogged by repeated questions about the campaign’s tactics, the candidate’s mental health and whether his quasi-candidacy represents little more than an underhanded effort by Republican operatives to capitalize on West’s celebrity in an attempt to siphon Black support from Democratic nominee Joe Biden. …
West’s campaign did not join other presidential contenders who filed campaign reports on August 20 with the Federal Election Commission — indicating what his campaign had raised and spent in July.
Under federal law, presidential candidates must file monthly reports in an election year if they have raised or spent $100,000 — or anticipate doing so during the course of the year, said Paul Ryan, an election law expert who oversees policy and litigation at Common Cause. …
The Federal Election Commission currently lacks a quorum to pursue any enforcement actions. And Ryan said it’s difficult to prove what a campaign anticipated spending, although the agency could subpoena records to determine whether West already had plans to exceed the $100,000-threshold by signing contracts in July for future work, such as petition-gathering.
The bigger legal jeopardy might be for the Trump campaign if evidence ever emerged that they operated in concert with West to benefit the President’s reelection, Ryan said.
“If the Trump campaign is asking Kayne West to do these things — qualify for the ballot, etc. — then arguably the Trump campaign is soliciting an illegally large, in-kind contributions to the Trump campaign in the form of every penny Kanye West spends,” he said.